Rio Grande Election

This year’s election produced two of the closest races that Rio Grande County voters have seen in years. The official winners will not be known until just before Thanksgiving when the results are certified by the Canvass Board.

Preliminary counts for the Upper Rio Grande School District show Leroy Trujillo received 423 votes while Donna L. Velasquez received 419 votes. The results for the Monte Vista School District were 626 votes for Kurtis Holland and 617 for Angela Waggoner.

There are several factors that may change these numbers. Colorado law allows voters to drop off their ballots at any polling location in the state. Election judges will stamp these ballots as received before the 7pm election night deadline. The ballots are then sent to the correct county by the Clerk’s office. Typically Rio Grande County sees ten to fifteen of these ballots per year. Those ballots will be opened, scanned, and counted on November 12.

Colorado law also allows military and overseas voters an additional eight days to get their ballots to the Clerk’s office. Those ballots will also be processed on November 12.

Another factor that may affect the final count is the processing of any ballot that was received before the deadline but had either a missing signature or a discrepancy with the signature. A letter was mailed to those voters asking them to correct the problem. They have until November 10 to respond. If the issue is resolved, that ballot will be counted on November 12. If the issue is not resolved, the ballot will not be counted.  The Clerk’s office mailed eleven of these letters.

The final factor that could affect the results is the risk limiting audit, although that has not ever happened in Rio Grande County. The audit will begin November 16. This is the process used to hand check specific ballots against the voting equipment. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office will determine which ballots will be checked. A bipartisan team of judges selected from the community will perform the audit. Once all counties in the state pass their individual audits, the Canvass Board will do another audit and certify the results.

The official election results must be posted by November 24 as per Colorado law. The results may be known earlier than that. For more information, call the election department at the Rio Grande County Clerk’s office at 719-657-3334.