LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Someone is going around trying to collect voters’ ballots in an election that could put a 2-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Loveland.
Twenty people have reported fake city workers trying to collect their ballots and city leaders say they do not know who is to blame. They’re now trying combat reports of potential fraud during an already contentious election.
“It is surprising and it is disappointing,” Loveland City Clerk Terry Andrews said.
It’s Andrews’ job to make sure people get to exercise their right to vote, that it’s private, and that each vote gets counted.
“We would never send someone to your home to pick up your ballot to drop into the ballot box for you,” Andrews said.
The city has received the calls from voters since Monday who say they’ve been approached by people offering to collect and turn in their special election ballots on a controversial issue.
The city mailed ballots to more than 40,000 asking whether they support a proposal to ban oil and gas companies from using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Loveland for 2 years.
“It’s disappointing, very disappointing that people have to go to those extremes in order to prove a point, whatever their side is,” voter Brenda Jennings said.
It’s not illegal to collect and turn in ballots, but officials say the reports are suspicious and they can’t be sure those ballots are turned in and counted.
The group Protect Our Loveland says it’s being unfairly blamed for what’s happening. Volunteer Linda Sandahl supports the ban and wants voters to approve it.
“All we’re doing now is dropping off literature, door hangers, and if anybody wants to talk to us, we’re very happy to talk, but we’re not knocking on doors,” Sandahl said.
It’s the first time the city has run its own election in nearly 20 years, and with more than 15,000 ballots already turned in, leaders expect voter turnout to be high.
Police are aware of the reports but say they haven’t received any criminal complaints and therefore have not started an investigation.
Those who have given their ballot to someone and now question their legitimacy can get a replacement ballot from the city. The city says it has a system in place to ensure no votes are counted twice.