Hot Sheet

Will Larimer County keep Colorado waiting?

Author: Dan Njegomir - November 8, 2016 - Updated: June 6, 2017

Given the potentially pivotal role Fort Collins and surrounding Larimer County could play in tonight’s balloting, this news in today’s Fort Collins Coloradoan gave us cause for concern:

Barring an unprecedented run on ballot boxes Monday afternoon, Larimer County voters shouldn’t expect to see final election results from the county until at least midday Wednesday.

…Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers set a cap of counting 20,000 ballots turned in on Election Day before she plans to send vote counters home for the night. Part of it is because mail-in ballots, despite the convenience they give voters, are more arduous to process than votes cast at traditional polling stations because of the security measures in place.

That probably won’t be welcome news to anyone following the state’s election returns tonight, considering Larimer not only is one of the state’s more populous counties but also is regarded as one of the bellwether counties that could signal whether all of Colorado is going to give its electoral votes to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

As Colorado College political sages Tom Cronin and Bob Loevy wrote recently in The Gazette:

On Election Night 2016, if you can find them, watch for the election results in the three swing counties – Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Larimer. If they are going for one candidate, he, Donald Trump, or she, Hillary Clinton, will doubtless carry Colorado in the election. If the three counties start splitting for different candidates, it will definitely be one of the closest elections for Colorado’s nine electoral votes in history.

So, why is the Larimer County clerk pushing some of her office’s workload into the next day? There’s a backstory:

“We would probably watch the sun rise if we tried to get it all done,” Myers said. “It just wouldn’t be conducive and absolutely putting those folks on the road is my biggest concern.”

For the 2014 election, the first statewide election with all mail-in ballots, Myers said she and her volunteers did watch the sun rise the next morning while they continued their count. Adrenaline was pumping and the hundreds of people there — like the hundreds who will volunteer Tuesday — wanted to make sure the count was finished before calling it quits.

Myers, who jokingly describes herself as an “oddball” for her strong feelings about providing Election Night results, felt good about the effort then, until she sent the exhausted volunteers to theirs homes throughout the county. As she watched them get in their cars, she recalled praying for them to get home safe and vowing not to repeat the all-night count.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.