DA’s race may be settled by Nov. 20
November 15, 2012
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A winner in the close race for 9th Judicial District Attorney might be known by Tuesday, according to Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico.
Democratic challenger Sherry Caloia, of Glenwood Springs, held a 124-vote lead over Republican incumbent District Attorney Martin Beeson, of Rifle, after a small lot of ballots were recounted on Nov. 7.
According to results published on Nov. 8, Beeson held the lead in Garfield County, which has the largest population in the district, by a margin of 1,269 votes, from a tally of 11,926 for Beeson to 10,657 for Caloia. He also led in Rio Blanco County by a margin of 1,492 votes, from a tally of 2,276-784.
But Caloia’s lead in Pitkin County, a margin of 2,885 votes, from a tally of 5,859 for Caloia to 2,974 for Beeson, outweighs the 2,761-vote advantage Beeson has from Garfield and Rio Blanco counties.
Hundreds of provisional ballots are being verified by clerks in Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, which make up the 9th Judicial District.
And while officials hope the results of the race will be known by next week, Alberico said that, if a recount is either requested by either candidate or required, the result might not be known until mid-December.
“We are diligently working on the verification process of the provisional ballots,” Alberico said, referring to more than 550 ballots issued to voters who were unable to cast a normal ballot on Election Day.
Alberico said her provisional judges will gather Thursday to prepare the provisional ballots for the counting procedure, which is to begin Tuesday.
One of the difficulties facing election officials, Alberico said, involves voters who “knowingly voted in the wrong precinct” and whose ballots can be counted only in federal and state races.
“It’s not that unusual,” Alberico said. “It has happened a lot in the past.”
She said this problem particularly affects the Glenwood Springs precincts. She explained that a number of voters who live in other towns but work in Glenwood Springs decided to vote in Glenwood at the end of the workday rather than risk being too late to vote in their hometowns.
Those votes often were cast in what Alberico said were “two races that were a top priority for a lot of voters,” Amendment 64 to legalize recreational use of marijuana and the presidential race.
On Monday, Alberico added, the county’s resolution board will convene to examine the out-of-precinct ballots and remake them to reflect only state and federal votes.
On Tuesday, Alberico said, election officials will begin counting the ballots, and on the same day the canvas board will meet to begin the process of verifying the ballots.
By Wednesday, at the latest, “You should know what the three counties have turned in,” Alberico said.
At that point, she explained, district voters might know who their district attorney is unless a recount is either required or requested.
Alberico said Nov. 26 is the absolute deadline for submitting the formal voter abstract to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, and Dec. 6 is the final day for the state to order a recount, which is required if the margin between the candidates is within one-half of 1 percent.
Dec. 7, Alberico said, is the last day for an “interested party” such as the candidates or their committees to request a recount even if the vote margins do not automatically require one.
And Dec. 13, she said, is the deadline for completing a requested recount.