NewsCovering Colorado


Box of forgotten ballots discovered in Las Animas County

Posted at 9:36 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 23:56:09-05

TRINIDAD – It seems like an unlikely scenario: ballots left in a box, overlooked.

But it’s exactly what happened under the watch of Patricia “Peach” Vigil, the Clerk and Recorder for Las Animas County.
“This has never happened to me, I’ve been doing elections for 18 years,” she said.

In the end, she says it comes down to an honest mistake.

“It was human error, they just forgot that that ballot box was there,” she explained.

When a staff member found the box containing 94 ballots in a vault Wednesday evening, they got to work fixing the issue.

Friday morning, they gathered all candidate to witness the counting process.

“I invited everybody to attend and to watch to make sure that everybody was on the same page,” Vigil said.

In some cases, the ballots widened the margin between some very narrowly-won races.

“I was surprised that they were so close,” voter and life-long resident Jon Neil Barclay pointed out.

In the race for Las Animas County Commissioner in District 1, Republican Felix Lopez had won by just four votes.
Now, that margin of victory has widened by 27 votes.

But one ballot measure changed its course entirely.

in the case of the Trinidad School District Number 1: Ballot Issue 4A Mill Levy Override, the margin was just a single vote in favor.
Now, it’s flipped. 11 votes make the difference against the measure.

Regardless of the outcome, Barclary still trusts the system, even with its flaws.

“I have faith in Peach that she did her job well,” he said.
“And I think that’s important that people have faith in the election results whether they like them or not

These elections will be certified on Wednesday, November 14.
There are still some provisional ballots pending, which according to Vigil means numbers could still change.

You can find the most up-to-date results here.