Counting last ballots could swing races |

Counting last ballots could swing races

EAGLE, Colorado – It will be a few days before Eagle County’s election results are officially official.

Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton and her staff are still working to count and verify as many as 300 ballots. Most years, that wouldn’t affect any races, but with tight races for Eagle County sheriff and Eagle County surveyor, the final count could affect the outcome of those races.

The current counts show a difference of 135 votes in the sheriff’s race and 167 votes in the surveyor’s race.

“With races this close, these ballots could make a difference,” Simonton said.

But getting those votes counted is going to take quite a bit of work, Simonton said.

About 50 ballots have some sort of problem with signatures on the ballot envelope. Voters will have eight days to correct those problems, and individuals will be contacted by mail. Depending on the problem, voters can correct the discrepancies either by fax or in person.

By far the most work will be on 186 “provisional” ballots that were issued at polling places and still need to be verified.

Simonton said people will be issued those ballots for any of several reasons including not having proper identification, showing up at the wrong polling place, or being sent a mail ballot then showing up at a polling place to vote.

According to Simonton, about 80 percent of those ballots are usually valid, but some won’t count. People who registered to vote past the deadline will be issued ballots, but those votes won’t count.

According to an e-mailed release from the county, counting provisional ballots will take at least a full work day, and Simonton expects the process to last until Friday, and perhaps Monday.

Once all the ballots are verified, Simonton will convene the county’s “canvass board,” which verifies the election results.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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