GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A large number of provisional ballots were issued to voters in Garfield County on Election Day Tuesday, but no more than usual for a presidential election, County Clerk Jean Alberico said Wednesday.
Alberico reported that 559 provisional ballots were handed out at polling places from Carbondale to Parachute during Tuesday's voting.
Reasons for requesting the ballots typically involve people not having received mail-in ballots, damaging or misplacing them, voting outside their normal precinct, or because of some discrepancy in a person's voter registration, she said.
"We always have a lot of provisional ballots, especially in presidential elections," Alberico said. "I don't know if this year was a record number, but I know we've had at least 500 in previous elections."
Provisional ballots are not counted at the same time as the other ballots, but they do eventually get counted, Alberico said.
A provisional board is convened to review the ballots and determine which ones are legitimate, which are counted, and reject any that aren't.
"We can't even start processing them until 10 days after the election," Alberico said.
In addition to the provisional ballots, Garfield County also had about 70 mail ballots that still need to be "cured" due to missing signatures or other discrepancies.
"We also have to wait eight days to allow any overseas military ballots to get here," Alberico said.
Although the extra, as-yet uncounted votes usually just add to the totals and don't affect any outcomes, they can become crucial in close races.
Such could conceivably be the case in the contest between incumbent Ninth District Attorney Martin Beeson and challenger Sherry Caloia. That race was within 125 votes as of the unofficial final tally on Wednesday, with Caloia holding the razor-thin lead.
Final election results from all Colorado counties are required to be certified and sent to the Secretary of State's Office by Nov. 23.