Douglas County voter receives 2 ballots and finds 3 major differences before learning both are legit

Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 01:16:32-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY -- In the Sesame Street song, "One Of These Things," Big Bird certainly wasn't talking about election ballots.

A handful of Douglas County voters have contacted the elections office after receiving two ballots in the mail, with noticeable differences on the envelopes.

One of those voters also contacted Denver7.

"Another person had notified you about a double ballot issue and I was concerned that I was getting two ballots in the mail," said Parker resident Jan Wagner.

She saw our story on Tuesday when we looked into why a Denver voter also received two ballots. Teresa Hailey's change of address form was processed after her ballot was sent to her home. A second 'replacement' ballot was sent to her P.O. Box.

Wagner was concerned because her two ballots looked official, with three distinct differences.

"The label was a different color. The mailing address was not the same. One has a stamp on it and one is metered," said Wagner. "Because of the appearance of the envelope being so different, it caused me to be concerned."

One ballot had a return address with the name of Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz printed on it, the one she was concerned about had no name. One was sent with a metered stamp, the questionable one had a butterfly stamp. One had a bar code and printed data visible through the envelope window, the one she was concerned with had a blue piece of paper with very basic information on the address line.

She didn't open either ballot and brought them both to the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder, so if there were something fishy, she wouldn't be accused of funny business.

"I was concerned if I had two ballots that somebody would think I had tainted it or had done something inappropriate," said Wagner. "I was a little nervous about that second ballot because I thought, 'am I supposed to open both of these?'"

"There are many people in the same situation, totally unaware, and so I'm glad you came in," Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz told Wagner. "This is something that a lot of people may have questions about."

The ballot she was not concerned with had all of the statewide ballot questions, Presidential and Senate candidates and candidate and issues for Douglas County.

It turns out the ballot she was concerned about, was for a special district election for Cottonwood Metropolitan District, an open space and parks district in Parker. A mill levy increase is the only question on that ballot. Even though she doesn't live in that district, she received the second ballot because she owns property in that district.

"She does not live in that district, but she is a property owner, and because they're wanting to raise a tax, then she has a right to vote on that," said Klotz.

It was in a blue folder because the elections office needs to sort it differently.

"They have to go a separate route for processing," said Klotz.

Klotz said 300 voters received this special election ballot separately from their other Douglas County ballot because they also own property in the Cottonwood Metropolitan District, but reside somewhere else in Douglas County. Including Wagner, five voters in this situation have called with concerns about receiving two ballots.

He said about 3,000 voters who live in that district received one ballot, with the mill levy increase question printed on the same Douglas County ballot with all other state and local candidates and issues.

The reason the special district ballot had an individual stamp on it was because it was sent individually, and not mass produced like 200,000 others that get printed and metered through the bulk mail system.

"We're living in a very sensitive election this year and 'voter fraud's' been thrown around a lot and because of that, she had a concern. I'm happy she brought it to our attention and to your viewers' attention," said Klotz.


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