The race between Republican Lang Sias and Democrat/union darling Evie Hudak was the closest Colorado race of the 2012 election.  As it stands, Hudak is leading by just 332 votes, but that’s not enough to trigger an automatic recount.  Some analysts believe that post-election ballot counting, which includes provisional ballots and overseas/military ballots, may tighten the race to within .5% and trigger an automatic recount. According to the Secretary of State:

“If the difference between the candidate receiving the highest number of votes and the candidate receiving the second-highest number of votes is less than ½ of 1% of the total votes cast for the candidate with the highest number of votes, there is a mandatory recount.”

The process is not terribly complex, but the Jefferson County Elections Division has provided an overview of the process.  Here a few key dates to remember when considering the status of the SD19 race:

November 14: Last day to accept voter cure letters, affidavits and copies of ID.  Also, last day to accept military and overseas ballots.  Currently, the Jeffco Elections division estimates that it has 300 to 600 resolution board ballots, 3,200 to 3,700 military and overseas ballots, and 7,300 to 7,600 provisional ballots.

While 7,300 to 7,600 provisional ballots sounds like a lot of ballots, not all provisional ballots are counted in their entirety.  Here are some guidelines for provisional ballots:

  • If a voter votes a provisional ballot at a polling place in a precinct other than the precinct in which they are registered, only their votes for federal and statewide races will be counted.
  • If a voter moves from one address within Colorado to another address within Colorado no less than 30 days before the election and failed to register in their new precinct before election day and their eligibility can be verified, their entire ballot will be counted.
  • If a voter has moved from another state to Colorado and failed to register to vote prior to the deadline, their entire ballot will not be counted.

November 15: Unofficial results will be posted.

November 20: Last day to complete verification and tabulation of provisional ballots.

November 23: Deadline to post official election results.

December 6: Last day the Secretary of State may order an automatic mandatory recount for state races.

It’s also worth noting that a recount may be requested by an interested party at their own expense by December 7th.  Colorado classifies the losing candidate or his/her political party as interested parties who can request a recount for a Senate or House race.

December 13: Day by which the requested recount must be complete.

Sias, a veteran, may command a large proportion of the military ballots cast in his race, which gives some political followers hope that his race will go into automatic recount.  Let’s hope the Sias campaign has something to be truly thankful for come November 23.