No automatic election recount

DA race doesn’t meet state formula threshold

Keywords: Poll question,

The 2012 primary race for 22nd Judicial District Attorney won’t be subject to an automatic recount after all.

With all votes in both Montezuma and Dolores counties, challenger Will Furse defeated incumbent DA Russell Wasley in the Republican primary. Furse received 1,941 votes while Wasley came up just short with 1,923. The margin rests at just 18 votes. The results may stand without a recount.

According to Rich Coolidge, media contact for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, the formula used to determine the threshold for a recount weighs the margin of victory in any given race against the total number of votes cast for the race’s winner.

“It is not total votes cast in race altogether, but total votes cast for the highest vote getter,” Coolidge said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

In earlier articles, the Journal inaccurately reported that Colorado law mandates a recount if the margin of victory is one-half of 1 percent of the total ballots cast. In the DA race, that would create a threshold at 19.32. The correct formula for an automatic recount would be based on Furse’s votes, 1,941, lowering the threshold to 9.7.

According to Colorado election law, 1-10.5-101, “A recount of any election contest shall be held if the difference between the highest number of votes cast in that election contest and the next highest number of votes cast in that election contest is less than or equal to one-half of one percent of the highest vote cast in that election contest.”

Montezuma County Deputy Clerk Kim Purcell said she believes a recount will not be ordered for the DA’s race.

“The way I understand it, a recount will not be mandated by the state,” Purcell said. “I called the secretary of state’s office and checked our numbers, and the indication was we are below that threshold.”

Results were certified by the county’s canvassing board on Friday, July 6, and sent on to the secretary of state’s office. That office has until July 16 to order a recount if threshold levels are not met. Interested parties may request a recount, to be held at their own expense, by July 17.

If a recount is ordered or requested, it must be completed by July 26.

Purcell said in her experience recounts do not typically alter the outcome of elections and the margin of victory in the local race is not as small as it may seem.

“A turnover in even an 18-vote count would be very, very, very rare,” Purcell said. “Our systems are very accurate and a recount more than likely would not change the outcome of the race.”

Without a recount, Furse will be the GOP candidate moving into the general election.

“I want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone for their help and support,” said Furse in an email to the Journal. “With great optimism, I encourage our party and our community to focus on mending fences so that we can move forward and promote positive change.”

A recount could still happen if requested by a candidate or interested party. The requesting party would be responsible for the cost of the recount.

Wasley declined to comment.

As of Wednesday, no candidates had filed paperwork to challenge the Republican DA candidate in the 2012 general election. Today is the deadline for unaffiliated candidates to file a nomination petition, and Thursday, July 19, is the file deadline for a write-in candidate to file intent to run in the general election.

If no candidate files paperwork to run, Furse will appear unopposed on the general election ballot.

Contact Kimberly Benedict at kimberlyb@cortezjournal.com.