Close races may not face recount
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Nov. 4 election has come and gone, but the winner of the Glenwood Springs City Council Ward 1 seat and the outcome of the Garfield District 16 tax increase won’t be officially determined until today, or possibly later this week, according to Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf.
According to the unofficial results of the election released Tuesday evening, Larry Beckwith topped incumbent Rick Davis 192-189, a three-vote margin.
And “no” votes topped “yes” votes in the school tax question 630-622, an eight-vote margin.
Under the state Election Code, which is used by the city of Glenwood Springs, a vote must be recounted if the vote difference is less than one half of 1 percent of the higher of the two vote counts.
By that measure, a recount in the Ward 1 race would be required if the vote split was one vote. And a recount on the District 16 question would be required if the split was three votes or less.
Alsdorf said she called the Colorado Secretary of State’s office Tuesday for guidance on whether to go ahead with recounts in the two close votes. One staffer told Alsdorf to proceed with recounts, but another staffer called back later to say the recounts weren’t necessary.
“Now I’m waiting for something definite in writing,” Alsdorf said Wednesday afternoon. “But I don’t think we will have to recount either one.”
She planned to call the Secretary of State’s office first thing today to repeat her request for a written opinion.
“Hopefully, I can make everybody’s day better,” she said of her desire to issue a decision today on whether to conduct recounts.
Those on the losing ends of the two votes could request a recount, even if the counted vote split tops 0.5 percent, Alsdorf said. But if the recount isn’t already required by law, the requester would have to pay for the work of a recount.
Meanwhile, Alsdorf said her staff will canvass the vote count for the entire election today to produce the official election results, a task that’s expected to be done by Friday.
The uncertainty over a possible recount affected planning for tonight’s City Council meeting, when new council members are to be sworn in. The new council’s first action will be to choose a mayor and mayor pro-tem from among the seven council members.
If no recount is needed, those formalities can take place.
If Alsdorf decides to move forward with a recount in the Beckwith-Davis race, Davis would step down from his seat tonight and the Ward 1 seat would remain vacant until the next meeting after the recount is finished, said Glenwood Springs City Clerk Robin Clemons.
She would still swear in elected council members Chris McGovern in Ward 3, Bruce Christensen in Ward 4 and Joe O’Donnell in the At Large seat.
“The Ward 1 seat will remain vacant after the swearing-in ceremony,” Clemons said.
The appointment of a new mayor would also be postponed until the Ward 1 race is officially determined.
Ward 1 incumbent Rick Davis has been the mayor pro-tem, the position that would normally have been tapped to chair tonight’s meeting. Instead, a council member will be nominated to run the meeting.
“We’ll wait until we have a full council to elect the new mayor,” said Clemons.
Meanwhile, in Parachute the backers of a school tax increase were analyzing the close election results.
“The numbers we got were 622 in favor, 630 against,” said Sandy Hanson, District 16 public information officer. The ballot question asked voters to approve a $996,000 yearly property tax increase with a mill levy override.
Hanson said she thought the race would be close, but not as close as an eight-vote margin.
“What we asked for was bare bones,” Hanson said. “This is what we need to operate.”
Hanson said people across the state voted down many other tax increase proposals.
“It wasn’t a good time for any kind of tax increases,” Hanson said. “We’re not alone.”
If the recount backs up the initial vote count, Hanson said the district will have some hard decisions to make concerning its budget.
“People are down, but we’ll regroup,” she said.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
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