Two races still too close to call from Tuesday’s election

Six days after the election, the outcomes of two big races in Colorado are still too close to call.

The first is the state board of education seat in Congressional District 6, which includes Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

As of this writing and based on unofficial results from the Secretary of State, Democrat Rebecca McClellan leads incumbent Republican Debora Scheffel by 1,125 votes. That gives McClellan 50.14 percent of the vote to Scheffel’s 49.86 percent.

*Recount rules in Colorado are different from every other state, which counts the total votes cast. In Colorado, a recount is automatically triggered only when votes are within one-half of one percent of the winning vote total. So in the case of the McClellan-Scheffel contest, McClellan now leads with 178,296 votes. One-half of one percent (0.005) is 891.48 votes; with a 1,125 vote lead, McClellan is 233.52 votes above a recount trigger.

The other question mark is whether voters will approve Amendment T, a measure sent to the ballot by the Colorado General Assembly which seeks to remove an exception to the state’s slavery ban from the state Constitution.

Returns show Amendment T losing by about 1 percent. But there’s a big caveat, and that’s Denver County.

Denver still had about 90,000 votes to process as of last Friday, and Amendment T was winning in Denver County by about a 2-to-1 margin. But many Denver voters also skipped Amendment T on their ballots, known as an undervote.  

So here’s how the numbers could shake out:

Monday’s vote totals from the Secretary of State shows that Amendment T had 1,264,145 “no” votes and 1,238,565 “yes” votes, a difference of about 1 percent.

Another 50,000 ballots had been processed by Denver County but not yet added to the vote totals. Take out 15 percent of those ballots, to account for the undervote in Denver, and that leaves 42,500 votes.

If Denver residents voted on T at about the same percentages as they have been all along, that puts another 28,050 votes into the “yes” column and 14,450 into the “no” column, which would narrow the gap to just under 12,000 votes. 

*Based on Monday night totals from the Secretary of State, again, unofficial, Amendment T would need to gain enough “yes” votes to be within 6,343 votes of the total “no” votes cast.

Election results will be certified on Nov. 22. The decision on whether Amendment T and the CD6 board of education races go to an automatic recount will be determined by Nov. 25, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Candidates can also ask for a recount, if the vote totals don’t reach the automatic recount level, but the candidate asking for the recount would have to pay for it. The money is refunded if the candidate wins the recount.

*Correction: recount formula corrected.

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.