Denver election workers to keep counting on Saturday with tens of thousands of ballots left to tally
Denver election officials will be in their downtown office on Saturday working to count an estimated 76,000 remaining ballots from Tuesday’s midterm election, the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office confirmed on Friday.
As of Friday afternoon, city employees had tallied more than 205,000 ballots, according to an update from the city’s elections division. That means the 76,000 uncounted ballots represent more than a quarter of all the ballots cast in the city in this cycle.
Denver Elections Division spokesman Alton Dillard counted more than a hundred people in the office on Friday working to get through the backlog despite it being the Veterans Day holiday for municipal employees. The biggest reason for the holdup Dillard said was that roughly half of all ballots cast in the midterm election in Denver came in on Monday and Tuesday of this week. With three double-sided cards to process per ballot, the deluge has taken time to overcome.
“As we have stated for years, the time of having finalized election results in time for the 10 o’clock news on Tuesday is over,” Dillard said. “We’ve scanned 615,00 pieces of paper with 228,000 pieces remaining to be scanned.”
Aside from grousing from some voters on social media and some ongoing nervousness for people involved in the campaigns for the closer measures on the city ballot, those paying close attention to updated counts are living with the pace of the count.
“It’s hard to be frustrated or critical of a process where you know nothing about what they’re doing,” Molly McKinely, the policy director of the Denver Streets Partnership, said Friday as she awaited update totals.
McKinely and the Streets Partnership campaigned for Initiated Ordinance 307 on the Denver ballot this year. The measure, dubbed Denver Deserves Sidewalks, would create a program that would charge property owners annual fees to pay for sidewalk repair and installation citywide. In the latest results released Friday evening, the measure was passing with 54.3% of the vote. With a margin of nearly 17,000 votes, 307 appears headed for victory but with 76,000 ballots outstanding the outcome is not guaranteed.
“Of course, it’s nerve-wracking but we’ve just kind of accepted that this is the process that we’re in,” McKinely said “We just keep looking forward to the next updates and working with what we have.”
Denver City Councilman Kevin Flynn is a skeptic of the sidewalk fee program. He thinks it will be difficult to implement as written. But has no qualms with how long it is taking to get final vote tallies.
“I’m not troubled,” he said. “This always happens. I want them to be right, not fast.”
The division plans to release updated vote totals at 3:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dillard said.
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