Nov 122002
Authors: Melissa Pester

Candidates for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District are still waiting for the outcome of their race, while the Larimer County Clerk’s office continues the week-long process of counting local provisional ballots to decide the fate of a Fort Collins tax for transportation.

Democrat Mike Feely and Republican Bob Beauprez are separated by less than 1 percent of the total vote in the 7th District, Colorado’s newest seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Like the 7th District, Fort Collins residents will have to wait a week before they know whether or not a 20-year, $160 million funding transportation package passed. The measure, Fort Collins Issue 2C, currently would be struck down by 15 votes. With between 200 and 400 provisional ballots still to be counted, 19,307 Fort Collins residents voted for the measure, while 19,322 voted against.

This transportation tax measure, if passed by provisional votes, includes proposed projects that would finish the Mason Street corridor project and widen sections of Timberline Road and Lemay Avenue, among many other improvements throughout Fort Collins.

“It kind of makes you wonder why the City Council put (2C) on a general election ballot. We have a municipal election in April. I thought that’s where it belonged,” said Former Fort Collins Mayor John Knezovich, an opponent to the measure, to the Coloradoan.

Larimer County Election Offices say that the result of the provisional ballots could swing the measure either way.

County clerks have 12 days to verify voter eligibility after the Nov. 5 elections. According to the Denver Post, most offices say they will have the counts completed by the end of this week.

“It’s a divided country and a divided state,” said Gerry Cummins, president of the state League of Women Voters. “A lot of our opinions are not in agreement, and it’s not the fault of the voter system or provisional balloting.”

As voters wait for the outcome of the congressional race and transportation issue, they have also gotten a chance to learn about provisional voting, something new in Colorado.

In the state of Colorado, like in California, a voter can now use the provisional ballot when they have lost their mail-in ballot or if it never arrived at their home. A registered voter can also use the provisional ballot anywhere in the state of Colorado, after they have moved and not changed their address.

However, provisional ballots are not counted on election night because before the provisional ballot can be counted, the voter’s eligibility must be verified.

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