Slow counting leaves election in doubt |

Slow counting leaves election in doubt

BRECKENRIDGE – More than six hours after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, ballot questions and races were still too close to call for certain.

Ballot counting at the Summit County Courthouse was slowed by difficulties tabulating absentee and early-voting ballots.

By law, Summit County election officials must begin counting absentee and early voter ballots – which totalled more than 2,400 ballots – at 7 p.m., before any ballots from any other precincts can be tabulated.

Each ballot marred in any fashion – typically from erasure marks – is set aside for a committee that rules what it thinks the intent of the voter was. New ballots are then marked and retabulated. Tuesday night, those marred ballots were stacked 3 inches tall.

By 1 a.m., 12 of Summit County’s 17 precincts had been tabulated for the race for county commissioner and the Summit Housing Authority sales tax proposal.

As of press time, 2,064 voters had cast ballots for Independent party candidate and county commissioner incumbent Gary Lindstrom, and 1,535 had voted for Green Party candidate Justin McCarthy.

Referendum 5a, which would put in place a sales tax to provide operating funds for the Summit Housing Authority, was ahead by 99 votes, with 1,853 people voting for it and 1,754 against.

Referendum 5b, which would allow the authority to use and spend funds it garners through the sales tax, was winning.

Earlier, with eight of 17 precincts reporting, results were as follows:

Summit County voters tried to put Tom Strickland in the U.S. Senate with a vote of 1,494 to Wayne Allard’s 889. Colorado voters overall, however, went against Strickland.

For U.S Representative, Summit County overwhelmingly voted for Mark Udall, casting 1,574 votes to Sandy Hume’s 765. Summit County voters also sided with the rest of Colorado in the gubernatorial race, casting 1,207 votes for Gov. Bill Owens and 1,053 votes for Rollie Heath.

Summit County also opted for incumbent Joan Fitz-Gerald, casting 1,468 votes to Republican Web Sill’s 945. Carl Miller was narrowly defeating Heather Lemon for the State Representative Seat in District 56 by a vote of 1,337 to 1,014. Those votes don’t include numbers from Lake and Eagle counties.

In the most contentious statewide Constitutional amendment issue, Amendment 31, Summit County voters sided with the majority of Coloradans – 1,511 to 946 – against requiring non-English speaking students to enroll in one-year, intensive English immersion programs.

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