Boulder Still Counting Paper Ballots

Election Results May Not Be Known For A While

Hold on to your Birkenstocks. Boulder County was still counting its paper ballots Wednesday morning and the counting could go on all day, maybe longer.

Voter turnout in the county was heavy, and elections officials pointed to two problems that delayed the vote counting. Some voters made mistakes on the two-page ballots and there were some write-in candidates. The write-in candidacy of Jason Savela for Boulder County district attorney meant that every ballot bearing his name had to be inspected manually by two judges.

Two election judges watch count in Boulder.

Elections judges have to examine each paper ballot carefully to determine what the voter intended, much like they did in Florida in the last presidential election.

Some people crossed out one candidate's name and circled the other. Some who cast ballots wrote several sentences about their vote.

"Some people think the ballot is an essay question," election judge Ellen Flannelly said.

"We have people involved in our system and lots of paper involved in our system and you put those things together and it spells a slow and methodical process -- one that is not quick and fast and highly electronic," said Jim Burrus, a county spokesman.

The county was also looking for more Republicans to watch the process last night. State law requires one representative from each party to be present when the ballots come in to be counted and the county was short on the Republican side.

Boulder officials said the counting will go on all day Wednesday and they hope to have results by the afternoon, but it could be even later.

"Boulder County is continuing to count ballots this morning. High voter turnout combined with numerous write in candidate votes slowed counting," said Dana Williams of the Colorado Secretary of State's Office on Wednesday morning. "The Boulder County clerk is doing her job to ensure the voters’ intent is carried out, and the clerk and her staff are carefully and concisely processing ballots to ensure every vote is counted."

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