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Gazette Premium Content Record voter turnout in El Paso County

BOB STEPHENS Updated: November 7, 2012 at 12:00 am

Voters turned out in record numbers in El Paso County in Tuesday’s general election, with 276,745 casting ballots.

Although voting is over, and many are celebrating victories, election results don’t have to be finalized until Nov. 23.

County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams said about 12,000 ballots must still be counted and the goal is to complete the canvas process by Nov. 21.

“It’s not a hard process, just a painstaking process,” Williams said. “We have to check to see if a provisional ballot counts and make sure nobody votes twice.”

Williams said 9,666 provisional ballots have yet to be counted, along with 1,220 mail ballots that were returned without required identification. Another 505 have signature issues, about 400 mail ballots were returned without the envelope that has an identifying bar code for each voter, and perhaps 200 military and overseas ballots remain uncounted.

Two categories of people have until Wednesday to make sure their ballot is counted. Military members out of state or citizens overseas had to mail their ballot by 7 p.m. Tuesday and have it received by the clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Voters with signature issues on a mail ballot were sent an affadavit that they must sign and return with ID by Wednesday for their vote to count.

Williams said nearly all races and ballot questions were decided by fairly significant margins, so the remaining ballots won’t change any race results — except in one possible case.

“Unless you’re in Calhan, I don’t see where it matters,” Williams said. “If you’re in Calhan, it’s a little more intriguing than the other jurisdictions but that one is so small, a few votes could turn the outcome.”

Calhan’s ballot question was about a one percent tax increase to pay for road and bridge improvements. The vote was 162 approving the tax and 155 against, so eight provisional votes could alter the decision.

“We’re on the teeter teeter,” said Calhan Mayor Blair Bartling. “I’m just holding my breath for now, hoping it doesn’t change.”

Williams posted final unofficial results on the county website at 3:40 a.m. Wednesday.

“Everything went well,” he said. “Allowing mail ballots to be dropped off at polling places meant we got a large amount of ballots about 9 p.m. Something to look at in the future is doing pickups of those ballots during the day so they can be counted earlier.”

Williams said, to his knowledge, lines at polling places weren’t long, except at Victory World Outreach.

Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens

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