Garfield County school board races hang in balance as ballot-counting continues
The winners of two school board seats in Garfield County are yet to be determined after local election officials had to stop counting operations after midnight and resume counting to start the business day Wednesday morning.
As of the last tally in the race for the only contested seat on the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, District D incumbent Shane Larson had a mere seven-vote lead over challenger Jasmin Ramirez.
That number included the latest tallies from not only Garfield County, but the portions of Eagle and Pitkin counties also included in the school district.
When the counting concluded for the night, officials in Garfield County still had 2,100 ballots to scan, according to Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico. Similar numbers of ballots were still outstanding in Eagle County, which also was still counting ballots this morning.
Alberico said Garfield County should have the final ballots tallied by early afternoon, and will report the results to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to be included in the statewide count.
Statewide, numerous counties, including some of the most populous counties, were also still counting. That could affect the outcome of other elected offices and ballot initiatives around the state.
Locally, the school board race between Larson, Ramirez and a third challenger, Amy Connerton, won’t be determined until those final ballots are counted.
The three-way race to fill two seats on the Garfield District 16 school board in Parachute/Battlement Mesa is also close between Brittany Van Teylingen and Diana Lawrence.
Other results could also change, but are less likely to swing, including the Garfield County Libraries Question 6A. The questions asked for a 1.5 mill levy increase to fund restored and expanded hours and services in the six-branch library system.
As of the latest tally, the tax question was passing by more than 500 votes.
Alberico said election officials were inundated with more than 4,000 ballots in the final hours before voting concluded Tuesday.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, they recorded 10,441 ballots received. By the time ballots came in from all the outlying balloting locations in the county, they had scanned a total of 14,111 ballots, with more than 2,000 still to be scanned, she said.
“Since we started sending out the ballots by mail in 2011, it’s become pretty standard that we get 30-40% of them back on election day,” Alberico said.
The state is also using a different vendor this year for reporting of the vote tallies to the Secretary of State, which slowed the reporting process some on Tuesday night, she said.
“I just don’t know that we’re ever going to get everything done on election night anymore, because of people dropping stuff on us at the last minute,” Alberico said.
As of the latest tally from late Tuesday night, Garfield County had counted 11,952 ballots. The county sent out 37,342 ballots to registered voters in the county this fall.
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