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November 11, 2010
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New vote tally in HD 61 expected next week

County clerks in the five counties that make up Colorado House District 61 are expected to have new tallies in the still-undecided race by next week, following an inspection of some 2,000 under-voted ballots.

Denver District Judge John W. Madden ordered last week that all ballots on which a vote was not recorded in the three-way race for state representative be inspected by hand, and any clear votes for write-in candidate Kathleen Curry be added to the tally.

The Colorado Secretary of State's office had until the end of the day Wednesday to appeal the ruling. Agency spokesman Rich Coolidge said the ruling would not be appealed.

That leaves county clerks in Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, Gunnison and Hinsdale counties to begin counting any ballots where Curry's name was written in, but which registered as "under-votes" during the initial count because the voter did not fill in the box or oval next to the write-in line.

Curry, the incumbent District 61 representative from Gunnison, who had to run as a write-in candidate after switching her party affiliation from Democrat to independent last year, trailed Democrat Roger Wilson of Glenwood Springs by 495 votes after last week's election.

Judge Madden's order was based on the possibility that a large percentage of the under-voted ballots may include write-in votes for Curry.

The count was under way in Eagle County this week, and was already completed in Hinsdale County where there were less than 100 under votes. However, counts were not expected to begin in Garfield, Pitkin and Gunnison counties until early next week.

"We'll do the provisional ballots and any others [besides the under votes] that are required to be counted on Friday," Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico said. "I expect it will take at least a day and a half to do the manual count of the under-voted ballots."

That process will begin on Monday, she said. Pitkin and Gunnison counties have indicated their counts will be on Monday as well.

Many of the under-voted ballots are likely ones in which the voter simply chose not to vote in the District 61 race between Curry, Wilson and Republican Luke Korkowski of Mt. Crested Butte.

Depending on how many ballots yield votes for Curry could either pull her within a half-percent of Wilson's tally, which would trigger an automatic recount of all the ballots. Or, it could be enough to put her over the top by enough of a margin to hand her the victory after the under votes are counted.

An observer from the Secretary of State's office has been requested to oversee the ballot inspection and counting process, Alberico said.

Coolidge said it will be up to each of the clerks to release their new results individually. All 64 Colorado counties are required to submit their official election results by Nov. 22.

In initial counts from the Nov. 2 election, Wilson had 9,496 votes, 495 votes ahead of Curry's 9,001 votes. Korkowski came in third with 8,892 votes.">class="NormalParagraphStyle">

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 11, 2010 12:34AM Published Nov 11, 2010 12:33AM Copyright 2010 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.