GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Ninth District Attorney Martin Beeson will have to pay nearly $12,000 to learn if he really has lost his job.
The estimated cost of a recount of votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, in which Beeson apparently was ousted by challenger Sherry Caloia, will be $11,831. The estimate came from the county clerks in Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, which make up the 9th Judicial District.
Beeson, who has formally requested the recount, could not be reached for comment by press time Thursday about the price tag of the recount and whether he will still pursue it.
According to the final vote tallies, issued Nov. 20, Beeson lost the election by a margin of 192 votes. (The Post Independent incorrectly reported the margin as 184 votes in the Nov. 27 edition.)
Caloia was the apparent winner with 17,633 votes, or 50.27 percent, to Beeson's 17,441 votes, or 49.73 percent.
An automatic recount is ordered if the margin between the candidates is less than or equal to one-half of 1 percent of the apparent winner's total, according to the secretary of state's website. That's a different number than the percentage split of the total votes cast.
Multiplying Caloia's tally of 17,633 by 0.005 (one-half of 1 percent) yields a result of 88 votes, the maximum number under which a recount would be automatic, and paid for by the county governments.
With the margin in the final vote tally at well over the 88-vote maximum, Beeson had to formally requested a recount and must pay for it, regardless of the recount result.
Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Colorado Secretary of State, said Beeson's formal request was received on Wednesday.
While the clerks for Garfield and Rio Blanco counties had their estimates in by early Thursday, the estimate from the Pitkin County clerk's office did not arrive until nearly the end of the business day on Thursday. Those estimates were $5,595 for Garfield, $3,396 for Pitkin and $2,840 for Rio Blanco.
The clerks of the three counties have until Dec. 13 to finish their recount, after which Beeson will be expected to send in a check to the state, which will then be distributed to the counties.
Under state law, if the clerk's underestimate the cost of the recount, the difference must be borne by the taxpayers of the jurisdiction.
If the clerk's overestimate the cost, the candidate is due a refund for the difference.