Glitch in ballot counters slows vote counting

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— As Tuesday turned to Wednesday, most of Colorado's races had already been decided as Routt County continued to slowly count its votes.

At 1 a.m. today, fewer than half of the county's 20 precincts had been counted. By that time, Wayne Allard had already been declared victorious in the U.S. Senate race.

Bill Owens had been re-elected governor and Scott McInnis was making his thank-you speeches to the voters who returned him to his seat in Congress.

Problems with the county's ballot machines shortly after the polls closed Tuesday halted counting for almost two hours.

"We're not really sure what happened," Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said. "It was a failure of the machine, a computer glitch, and we had to shut it down and start over.

"We did a trial run of the machine before we started the count, but things happen."

The ballots from Routt County that had been counted by midnight showed the county leaning in a different direction than the rest of the state in the closely watched Senate race.

Statewide, Allard defeated Democratic challenger Tom Strickland with 51 percent of the vote. Strickland had 45 percent statewide.

In Routt County, Strickland had 59 percent of the vote with half of the precincts reporting.

Strickland's Routt County victory was surprising in an area heavily Republican. Of 12,554 registered voters, 5,465 are Republicans, 4,210 are Democrats and 7,185 are recorded as unaffiliated.

In the governor's race, Routt County agreed with the rest of the state in re-electing Owens. Statewide, Owens took 63 percent of the vote.

In Routt County, Owens received 51 percent.

County voters also fell in line with the rest of the state on statewide amendments.

Local voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed Caesar Chavez holiday, the bilingual education proposals and several proposals to change Colorado elections.

Though this was not a presidential election year, voters still went to the polls in large numbers, Weinland said.

"We had a great turnout," she said.

"We had a lot of votes to count."

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