Montrose County won’t know who its next sheriff and commissioner will be — or any other results of Tuesday’s primary election — until mid-Thursday or later, due to a ballot printing error that requires laborious hand-counting to remedy.

The print vendor for the primary election ballots printed the incorrect barcode on the ballot, although the substance of the ballot is correct, Montrose County Clerk and Recorder Tressa Guynes said.

Colorado Secretary of State staff members arrived after hints of the problem were uncovered last Friday, when election judges began their process. It was discovered the barcode had been printed incorrectly, leading to the potential for counting errors.

“In hashing it all out, late Friday is when the Secretary of State’s Office said we don’t see any other resolution except a hand-count,” Guynes said.

The SOS’ attorney and another staffer arrived Monday to walk elections staffers through the hand-counting process, which will be done by teams of three, with representatives from each major party.

The ballots will be hand-counted in batches, with the ongoing count certified by tallying teams.

The process is not expected to be completed until Thursday afternoon, or possibly even Friday. Updates of the counts will be provided Tuesday at about 7:30 p.m., with twice-daily updates given thereafter at about 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. 

A link to the most current results will be available at

“We appreciate Montrose County keeping us informed throughout the process. It’s critical that counties and our office ensure the integrity of the election. The processes Montrose has adopted will do just that. Montrose County has the full support of my office for the duration of the election,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in a news release from the county.

Hand-counting will not affect the election results; it will just take longer to get those results, Guynes stressed.

Guynes did not identify the print vendor, but it is not the same as the electronic voting equipment vendor, Hart, which assisted the county. Guynes said the county is keeping track of its extra expenses as the result of the print vendor’s error and will settle that issue with it later.

As of Tuesday morning, 8,639 Montrose County voters had turned in ballots. Polls close at 7 p.m. sharp; ballots must be received by that time to be counted.

See the full story in Wednesday’s Montrose Daily Press.

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