Ramirez holds lead in contested Roaring Fork school board race over incumbent Larson
UPDATE — A Thursday morning update in the latest multi-county vote tallies now has Jasmin Ramirez up 80 votes over Roaring Fork school board incumbent Shane Larson for the lone contested seat in Tuesday’s election.
After an extra half day of ballot counting Wednesday, Jasmin Ramirez took a 60-vote lead in the election for the District D seat on the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education.
If the margin holds, it would mean Ramirez would take the seat now held by incumbent school board member Shane Larson.
However, a couple hundred rejected and held ballots could still come into play, leaving the school board seat undecided until after Nov. 14, according to Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico.
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Ballot counting was suspended Tuesday night until the following morning when more than 2,000 outstanding ballots still needed to be counted in Garfield County. Ballots were also still being counted in the Eagle and Pitkin county portions of the school district Wednesday morning.
By afternoon Wednesday, unofficial final results in the three-way school board race gave Ramirez 2,467 votes districtwide, or 39% of the total, to Larson’s 2,407, or 38%.
A third candidate for that seat, Amy Connerton, garnered 1,474 votes, or 23% of the vote, according to the unofficial final tally.
Alberico said she had 107 ballots that were rejected for reasons such as missing IDs, no signature on the ballot or a signature discrepancy.
“These voters have all been sent a letter with instructions on how to cure the deficiency,” Alberico explained. “Voters have until 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 to return the affidavit so their ballot can be counted.
Any cured ballots received by the deadline will be processed and scanned on Nov. 14, after which the results will be audited and Canvass Board can certify the election results.
Ramirez ran on the message of bringing greater diversity to the school board and representation in a district where more than 50% of the students are Latino.
Regardless of the final outcome, Ramirez thanked voters for participating and listening to what she had to say.
“I’m really grateful that a lot of our district community saw a need for diversity and representation for students and families with different life experiences,” Ramirez said late Wednesday.
“I do have the ability to connect with the families of the valley, and to listen and share those experiences, because I’m bilingual,” she said.
With the final outcome still uncertain Tuesday night, Larson said he heard a strong message from school district voters that, while the district is moving in the right direction, there’s still work to be done.
He said the contested race, “made me stop and think about why I want to be on the board, and why I’m running. But at the end of the day I think I have some things to contribute.
Two other Roaring Fork school board seats were decided Tuesday.
Joining current board members Jen Rupert and Jennifer Scherer will be Natalie Torres for the District B seat, and Maureen Stepp for the District C seat.
Torres and Stepp were the only candidates listed on the ballot in this fall’s mail ballot election, though a pair of official write-in candidates did garner some votes for those seats.
According to school district officials, the current school board will preside over the next scheduled board meeting on Nov. 13. Once the election results are certified, the new members would be sworn in come December.
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