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  • Dylan Anderson

Brown Ranch Special Election ballots accidentally sent to underage voters won't be counted

184 ballots were sent to some residents who have pre-registered to vote, but who won’t be 18 before the March 26 annexation vote.


Ballots mistakenly sent to underage residents ahead of Steamboat Springs’ March 26 Brown Ranch Annexation vote will not be counted, City Clerk Julie Franklin said in a press release acknowledging the error from the city on Thursday.


Voters started seeing their ballots show up in mailboxes this week, including as many as 184 steamboat residents that have pre-registered to vote, but that will not be 18 by March 26. The error occurred because data the city got from the Routt County Clerk included these pre-registered voters.


“The two agencies are aware of the situation,” Franklin said in the release. “While these voters should not have received ballots, election officials have security measures in place which ensures this won't cause any errors in election integrity.”


City officials are asking residents who are not eligible but received a ballot to return it to Centennial Hall. If any of these residents were to submit the ballot, election officials can identify and remove the ballot from the count without even opening the envelope.


The 184 number comes from data the city received from the county and may include some voters who were born in 2006 and will be eligible to vote on March 26. The city will update the number after a complete review of voter registration data to identify which voters will be 18 by Election Day.


Voters should receive their special election ballot by March 11. Ballots need to be returned by 7 p.m. on March 26 to be counted.


Voter services will be available from city offices at Centennial Hall at 124 10th Street from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Services include voter registration assistance, disabled access voting assistance, ballots for newly registered voters, and replacement ballots.


Voters have the option of using the 24/7 Secure Ballot Box to return their ballot, located at 522 Lincoln in the alley behind the historic downtown courthouse. There is also an interior drop box at the city offices which are open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ballots can also be returned in the mail. Be sure to sign your ballot and mail with sufficient time for the ballot to arrive before 7 p.m. on March 26. The city advises voters not to mail ballots after Tuesday, March 18.


Top Photo Caption: A special election ballot. (Dylan Anderson/The Yampa Valley Bugle)


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