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Hundreds of Tucson voters get ballots without TUSD race

More than 500 voters on Tucson's South Side were sent early ballots that left off the race for Tucson Unified School District Governing Board. Officials said replacements were mailed so residents near Interstate 19 and Ajo Way will be able to vote in that election.

Some voters living in Precinct 22 — just west of I-19 and running between Silverlake Road on the north and Drexel Road on the south, and as far west as Cardinal Road — were sent incomplete early ballots, officials said.

The precinct includes areas inside and outside of the city limits, meaning not all ballots sent to voters there can be the same. But 529 voters in the precinct were sent ballots that did not include the TUSD face, despite being eligible to vote in that school board election.

Precinct 22 has 3,723 registered voters — all of whom live within TUSD's boundaries. It was not immediately evident from responses provided by officials if the ballots with errors were sent to city voters, or those residents living outside the city limits. The number of ballots already returned that are missing the race was not immediately available.

The voters who were mailed incomplete ballots were sent fresh replacement copies last week, said Brad Nelson, director of Pima County's Elections Department.

If voters have already returned the early, incorrect ballot, they can use the replacement to cast their votes — being sure to vote in each race they wish to, not just the TUSD election. The early copies of the ballots in that precinct will be kept segregated until Election Day, to ensure that the newer ones can be tallied instead, officials said.

If a voter does not wish to make a choice in the TUSD race and does not return the second ballot, the earlier copy will be added to the tally for other races.

Each voter affected received a letter from the Pima County Recorder's Office, along with phone calls or emails from the Elections Department, Nelson said.

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"For those voters who had no phone or email address listed, we visited each effected household over this past weekend to talk face-to-face with the voters in an effort to make certain that they were properly informed," he said.

There are about 1,600 different forms for ballots across the county being employed this election, Nelson said, considering all of the varying jurisdictions that are presenting candidates and questions to voters.

"In Precinct 22 there are three differing ballot styles," he said. "As the ballot print order was generated this 'pocket' of voters within Precinct 22 had the incorrect style attributed to it. Several different people reviewed the print order prior to sending the order to the printer. We just missed this small pocket."

Nelson said officials "contemplated" sending out a news release about the error, but "given the extreme individual outreach to each impacted voter I felt the release unnecessary and potentially confusing to voters who were not affected by the misprint."

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