Treasurer recount confirms Diller victory

Despite earning an additional 247 votes in the general election recount, they weren’t enough for Kelly Evans, write-in candidate for treasurer, to secure a win over Republican opponent Betty Diller.

According to figures provided by Archuleta County Clerk June Madrid, Evans needed to gain 446 votes in the recount, but the final tally — Diller’s 2,747 votes to Evans’ 2,547 — was not enough to drive an Evans victory home.

Nevertheless, Evans ran one of the most formidable write-in campaigns in Archuleta County history, and after reviewing election data provided by Madrid Nov. 5, Evans opted to pursue a recount.

Specifically, Madrid’s election data indicated to Evans that 1,280 ballots might provide information that would create a victory.

According to Madrid, and in the case of a write-candidate, the voting ballot process is twofold. First, the elector must blacken the oval next to the write in candidate option; then, the elector must provide a reasonably accurate spelling of the candidate’s first and last name on the line provided. If a name is written in, but the oval is not blackened, the ballot scanner does not register a choice for the candidate and the write-in contender earns no vote.

According to Madrid, 1,280 ballots came in with no oval blackened.

During a recount however, election judges examine each ballot to determine voter intent, and write-in candidates can earn votes if the elector wrote in the correct name of the write-in candidate but left the oval un-blackened. It was through this process, Madrid’s data indicates, that Evans earned the bulk of her additional votes.

“I’m content with the results. I appreciate all the hard work everyone put into it (the recount). It was the only way to find out how many votes were out there. Obviously, I would have preferred a different end result, but, that’s life,” Evans said.

Diller was unable to be reached for comment by press time. The treasurer-elect will take office in January 2009.

james@pagosasun.com