Highlands Ranch Metro District has voided six ballots that were sent to ineligible voters after being notified by former residents that they received ballots in Littleton.
Colorado Resource Services Designated Election Official Sue Blair confirmed three ballots were sent to a single address in Littleton and another three ballots were sent to ineligible voters in the 80120 zip code. Highlands Ranch Metro District contracted with Colorado Resource Services to manage the May 3 election for the board of directors.
Blair said the error occurred while reviewing the permanent absentee voter roll against Secretary of State data on voter registration and the six ineligible voters were mistakenly left on the roll. In total, Blair said around 3,600 ballots were mailed to permanent absentee voters.
“We are human and we all make mistakes,” she said. “This was just an error on our part.”
She added that there are eligible voters who live outside Highlands Ranch Metro District who own property in the district, which may have caused confusion. Additionally, on April 22 Highlands Ranch voided and remailed ballots that were sent out to permanent absentee voters after the initial ballots were sent with incorrect instructions on selecting candidates.
Blair said she was made aware of three mistaken ballots by voters who reached out, and then while rechecking the absentee voter list to remail the corrected ballots she discovered the other ballots. The ballots that have been identified as ineligible have been voided in the pollbook, so they won’t be recorded in the election.
“We know what ballot numbers went out, so in the pollbook, they’ve been voided and their voter ID is voided,” Blair said. “There’s no way to enter (the ballots) into the pollbook.”
Former Highlands Ranch resident Kristen Hirsch emailed the metro district on April 16 about receiving ballots for her and her husband at their new address in Littleton after moving out of the district in May 2021.
On April 25, Hirsch again reached out to let the metro district and CRS know that her daughter had received a revised ballot at their address as well.
Hirsch, a former volunteer election judge, said she contacted the district out of concern that more ineligible ballots existed and was disappointed in the response.
“The conclusion was much less than satisfactory,” Hirsch said in an email, noting that her concerns for preventing future mistakes remain.
Neither Douglas County nor the Colorado Secretary of State have oversight for special district elections.
“The Highlands Ranch Metro District takes the integrity of this election very seriously, and is working with CRS to ensure votes are counted accurately,” Highlands Ranch Metro District Community Relations Manager Sherry Eppers said in a statement.
Blair added that CRS is “taking all the steps” to ensure election integrity.
Highlands Ranch Metro District’s election takes place May 3, with in-person voting available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the polling location at 62 Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch.
One seat apiece is open for election in the Northwest , South Central, West Central and Southeast regions.
In the Northwest Region, candidates Eric T. Rysner and Scott A. Densmore are running. Carolyn Schierholz and Robert W. Mainger are running in the South Central Region. West Central Region candidates are Curtis R. Hanock and Mark A. Dickerson. Only one person, David Simonson, is running in the Southeast Region.
Schierholz and Dickerson are running for reelection and are currently the board treasurer and board chair, respectively.
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