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Coin flip could settle Northglenn council race

Downing-Henry Ward 2 race a tie as recount looms


The ultimate decision of who sits on the Northglenn City Council may rest on mere chance — a flip of a coin, the length of a straw or name drawn from a hat.

The race to fill the seat in city’s Nov. 7 election is down to an actual numerical tie, according to Madison Andersen, communications specialist for the Adams County Clerk and Recorders office — 642 votes each for outgoing Northglenn Mayor Joyce Downing and opponent Danielle Henry.

“It goes to show that every vote counts,” Anderson said

The race was close all along, with Downing sporting a five vote lead over Henry when the polls closed Nov. 7. That would have been enough to give Downing the win without the threat of an automatic vote recount.

But the official count wasn’t finished until a week later. Andersen said the county had to wait that long for absentee ballots mailed from overseas voters to arrive and to give ballot envelopes with mismatched signatures a second glance.

And each day, as new ballots were tallied, Henry and Downing’s tallies inched closer and closer until Nov. 15, with Downing leading by a single vote.

“Surprisingly, Weld County has a few voters in Northglenn, something like less than 10,” she said. “Weld did their final upload Nov. 15, gave us those results. And it added one more vote to the race.”

That vote went to Henry, and the official count ended in a tie.

Recounts and lots

Officials from the Adams County canvas a board certified the results once and for all on Nov. 22.

“We bring in a member from the Democratic party and the Republican party and they look through the results and they say, basically, the election was conducted fairly, they agree with how it was performed and they certify the results,” Andersen said.

Andersen said her office has three races in recount range in addition to Northglenn’s Ward 2 — an Aurora City Council race and questions in Byers and Wiggins.

“We’ll have to pick a date with neighboring counties, the ones that share those races, and do them all on the same day,” she said.

They’ll locate all the ballots and run them through the counting machines again. If the race still ends in a tie, the canvas board, which includes the County Clerk and Recorder and a deputy clerk, will decide how the race will be settled.

“It goes into a lot drawing, and our canvas board facilitates it,” she said. “A lot drawing means you can draw names out of a hat, you could flip a coin. It’s just random selection that determines the winner.”

They have until Dec. 7 to have all election business settled, so Andersen said she expects the lot drawing will be scheduled during the first week of December, if it’s still needed.

Oaths of office

The newly elected councilors took their oaths of office at the Nov. 27 City Council meeting.

That included newly elected Mayor Carol Dodge and councilors-elect Meredith Leighty, Julie Duran Mullica and Jenny Wilford.

The Ward 2 winner, whether it’s Henry or Downing, will take their oath of office once the final tally is settled.

Henry said she’s hopeful and eager to get it settled. “We’re just eager to let democracy do its thing,” she said.

She’s surprised it’s so close, but said it has been a fair race.

“Joyce has been a figure and a leader in Northglenn for such a long time, I knew I would have an uphill battle,” she said. “We’ve both stayed positive during the campaign and emailed back and forth a few times.”

She’s ready to serve if she wins.

“It’s a really exciting time for Northglenn, and I think people really do feel that,” she said.


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