Nicholson win likely for Senate District 16 |

Nicholson win likely for Senate District 16

summit daily news
Special to the DailyJeanne Nicholson

Democrat candidate for state Senate District 16 Jeanne Nicholson pulled ahead of GOP challenger Tim Leonard by a razor thin margin according to the most up-to-date results available Wednesday.

Early unofficial numbers have Nicholson ahead, 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. Early totals from the six counties in the district put Nicholson at 29,968 votes over Leonard’s 29,450.

In Summit County, Nicholson claimed a comfortable victory with 55 percent of the vote, according to the most recent numbers from the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

The SD 16 hopefuls have been locked in a dead heat since polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Leonard took a narrow early lead, according to numbers reported by the Denver Post, but Nicholson eventually closed the gap.

Neither can claim a definite victory with such a narrow gap between them while counties in the district still have uncounted provisional ballots.

“I’m anxious for the final results,” Nicholson said Wednesday. “I think that what we know so far is really promising.”

Leonard could not be immediately reached for comment.

Provisional ballot results often trend with regular election results, but with Nicholson’s victory hanging on 518 votes, the provisional ballots could swing the percentages or bring the two candidates close enough to require a mandatory recount.

Voters who came in during the last few minutes of voting Tuesday had to cast provisional ballots after the portal connecting vote centers to the state’s voter registration website went down at approximately 6:50 p.m. The registration website allows election judges to verify electronically that voters are registered and eligible to cast ballots.

“All the counties have a contingency plan,” Colorado Secretary of State spokesman Rich Coolidge said. “(The glitch is) an issue that they would plan for. They go right into a pdf version of the poll book,”

All but four counties using the system lost network connectivity and had to switch to a back-up paper system.

Dara Hessee, chief of staff of the Governor’s office of information technology said the problem occurred with the portal connecting vote centers to the state registration system, but had nothing to do with the system itself.

She said the glitch did not have any impact on election outcomes.

“This didn’t really effect the election or the ability to count votes,” Hessee said.

Counties across the state lost connectivity for about 15 minutes. The system has been functioning properly since Tuesday night’s glitch was corrected. The office of information technology has not determined what caused the problem.

The current voter registration system was first used for the 2008 election without problems, Hessee said.

Summit County vote centers, with the exception of Breckenridge, did lose connection to the state registration system as a result of the glitch. A few people still in line at the vote centers had to cast provisional ballots.

“Fortunately it was towards the end (of the day) so there were not that many people in line,” said Diane Thaemert, Summit County deputy clerk of elections.

SDN reporter Caddie Nath can be reached at (970) 668-4628 or at

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