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GOP challenging Eagle County race

It pales beside the presidential political potboiler, but Eagle County is facing its own controversy over the results of a tightly-contested race.

The Eagle County Republican Central Committee filed a written grievance Thursday alleging that some voters were improperly allowed to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election.

The GOP’s letter demanded that some ballots be thrown out and that a recount take place in the District 2 commissioner race, where Democrat Arn Menconi edged Republican Steve Morris.

On election night, it appeared Menconi won by a 37-vote margin. However, 13 ballots could not be fed to counting machines, so they were counted by County Clerk Sara Fisher Thursday morning. Those ballots increased Menconi’s victory margin by two votes to 39.

But Eagle County Republican chairwoman Jo Brown alleged in her letter that some people who were ineligible to vote were allowed to cast ballots.

The Republicans claimed ballots were improperly cast by people who moved within Eagle County and didn’t properly change addresses with the clerk’s office. They also contend residents who were on the “inactive” voter lists were allowed to vote without properly returning to “active” status.

“We further believe and claim that because of these re-registrations being improperly performed that all the ballots which were improperly cast be disallowed, purged from the voting record and a recounting done of the District 2 Commissioner race with the corrected vote tally,” the Republicans’ letter said.

Fisher, a Republican, vehemently denied that voters were unlawfully allowed to cast ballots. Her staff followed procedures established by state law, she said.

“They’re suggesting that people were imported into Eagle County to vote,” Fisher said.

She will respond to the Republican Party in writing after consulting with the county attorney. But in addition to denying any wrongdoing by her staff, Fisher said she couldn’t carry out what the Republicans were requesting.

It cannot be determined which ballot was filed out by any individual since they aren’t signed, Fisher said. Therefore, the Republicans’ suggestion that ballots be identified and purged is “absolutely impossible,” said Fisher.

Republican chairwoman Brown and candidate Morris have not returned telephone calls from The Aspen Times.

Fisher noted that no challenges to voters were issued on election day by Republican poll watchers. The party had watchers at almost all precincts, she said.

In addition to alleging that some voters were improperly “re-registered,” Brown requested that all precinct votes be recounted because, she claimed, some ballots may have been counted twice at the polling place at Edwards Elementary School. She claimed a voting machine was broken.

Democrat Menconi stated Wednesday that the Republicans’ allegations were a “non-issue.”


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