Broomfield counts final ballots to determine outcome of fracking ban

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - Broomfield officials will begin counting final ballots on a fracking measure Thursday.

The measure to ban hydraulic fracturing for five years fell 13 votes short of passing in the Nov. 5 election -- 10,253 voters said yes, 10,266 voted no.

The tally won't be official until officials count the overseas and military ballots, provisional ballots and other ballots with problems like missing signatures.

Jim Candelarie, Broomfield Clerk and Recorder, said there were at least 350 ballots to add to the count.

This year, Broomfield's city council approved at least 31 new gas wells using hydraulic fracturing in the county, upsetting some community members. The issue then went to voters.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a gas drilling process that blasts chemical-laden water deep into the ground. Supporters say the process is safe, while opponents say the technique pollutes groundwater.

Fracking bans did pass in Boulder, Lafayette and Fort Collins on Nov. 5.

In Boulder, 77 percent of voters supported a moratorium extension.

In Lafayette, 59 percent of voters supported extending that city's moratorium.

And in Fort Collins, a citizen-initiated measure banning hydraulic fracturing within the city limits was passed by 56 percent voters.

The Broomfield Election Division and the Clerk and Recorder are required by law to certify all the election results by the deadline of Tuesday, Nov. 19.

If the final vote is within 0.5% of the votes cast, an automatic recount is required, election officials said. That recount would take place after certification, according to the city of Broomfield.