Dellinger wins by 3 votes |

Dellinger wins by 3 votes

Christine Metz

Throughout his campaign, District I incumbent Bud Romberg ran ads saying “every vote counts.”

That phrase rang too true Friday morning, as Romberg lost his District I seat to Susan Dellinger by the slimmest margin in recent years — three votes.

After Tuesday’s election night results determined that a five-vote margin separated Dellinger and Romberg, the two waited until Thursday for 15 provisional ballots to be counted. Dellinger’s lead dwindled to a four-vote difference.

When the provisional ballots were counted, a 0.3 percent difference existed between Dellinger and Romberg, requiring a state-mandated recount, conducted at 10 a.m. Friday.

By noon Friday, the recount found one vote in Romberg’s favor, but Dellinger still had a three-vote advantage and was declared the winner.

The final tally was 1,255 votes for Dellinger and 1,252 votes for Romberg.

“No one can ever complain their vote doesn’t count,” Dellinger said.

Dellinger, who differed from Romberg and the existing majority on the City Council in her views on chamber funding, the city’s tax policy and growth, has potential to swing the council’s direction.

Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said this was the closest local election she remembers in her 15 years as a clerk. It is also the first time a recount was mandated for a local race. Other recounts have been done, but always for state issues.

During the recount, two election judges, one representing each party, counted one precinct by hand and matched those results with what the machine produced election night. When no discrepancy existed, Weinland said, the election judges decided to do the recount by machine.

The one-vote difference in the recount, Weinland believed, could have been caused by an early voter’s ballot getting jammed in the machine.

“It has been proven the machine is much more accurate than the hand count,” Weinland said.

The 2001 election between Kathi Meyer and Steve Ivancie, where Meyer lost the at-large-seat by 41 votes, was considered close in the clerk’s office. This year’s vote was much closer.

“I think this is a great message that your vote really does count,” Weinland said. “I hope it minimizes apathy for the next election.”

Weinland said the provisional ballot count originally was scheduled for Friday, but she moved the day up so the candidates did not have to be in limbo over the weekend.

The election results become official Monday during the canvass of the election, when auditors certify the votes.

Dellinger, who worked at the city for 10 years, said Friday she already has picked up the council packet for Tuesday’s meeting and started preparing for her new role.

“I would like for the community to really feel more a part of it all, like they got something to say,” Dellinger said. “We are working together, going down the same road.”

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