Post Independent Opinion

Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson has a wonderful opportunity to mend an injustice to voters and schoolkids in Parachute and Battlement Mesa.

Davidson could direct Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf to recertify last November’s election results for the School District 16 mill levy override, and she should waste no time in doing so.

Errors in the vote-counting process by the county clerk’s office resulted in an apparent 622-630 loss for the tax increase, which would fund a variety of positive school improvements.

But a hand count of ballots by the Secretary of State’s office recently revealed that voters actually approved the measure, 673-656.

Attorneys for the school district and county government agree that Davidson holds the legal authority to order a recertification, and Alsdorf would be only too happy to turn around the incorrect results.

Recertification this long after an election hasn’t been done before. But with the reversed results now known, Davidson has a duty to right the wrong. The will of the voters was close, but clear, and they shouldn’t be disenfranchised because the election was fumbled.

Alsdorf cannot issue a new election certification on her own. She is hampered by the Secretary of State’s directive, as she was at the time of the November 2003 election.

The District 16 School Board requested a recount in the close race shortly after the election, in which vote-counting problems were already apparent. But Davidson did not allow Alsdorf to conduct a hand count of the Parachute and Battlement Mesa ballots, citing state election laws.

Alsdorf had to run the ballots through the same vote-counting machine that her staff did not operate properly the first time around.

A hand count at the time would have overturned the early results. That’s what should have happened at the time.

Now, the best remedy is for Davidson to order recertification of the correct vote count. The kids and the voters deserve it.

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