Sep 172014

By Linda Kor

Voter turnout appeared to be a little too high in one area of Navajo County during the August primary election, as reports show that it had more than 100 percent turnout.

According to Navajo County Elections Director Johnathan Roes, the North Heber Precinct showed a voter turnout of 125 percent due to errors by poll workers at that location.

Roes noted that Heber is divided into north and south precincts, but both precincts vote at the same polling location. He explained that the poll workers had separate ballots, one for the north and one for the south, and that although they have the same information on them, they are labeled to indicate the two separate precincts.

“Rather than issue the correct ballot to each voter, the poll workers simply opened up the ballots for the north precinct and gave those to each of the voters regardless of which precinct they were from,” said Roes.

That error made it appear that there were more ballots than voters, but in reality the south precinct voters were using north precinct ballots.

“The error by the poll workers doesn’t affect the outcome on any of the elections because other than the ballot heading, the information on each of the ballots was the same,” he said.

According to Roes, the Heber precincts were the only ones in the county with ballot errors.

A similar incident occurred in Apache County where one polling place serves both the west and east Puerco precincts. According to officials there numerous East Puerco voters were counted as being West Puerco voters.

Also in Apache County, a clerical error showed that Fort Defiance had only 357 voters when there are actually 2,357 voters, showing a 293 percent voter turnout.

None of the errors affected actual election results.