DA election recount is on

Wasley makes request, hopes for change in vote numbers

Keywords: Poll question,

It’s official: 22nd Judicial District Attorney Russell Wasley has formally requested a recount in the 2012 Republican primary for the DA’s office.

Wasley was defeated by challenger Will Furse, a local defense attorney, in the June primary by a margin of 18 votes. Furse received 1,941 votes while Wasley came up just short with 1,923.

While the margin of victory was above the threshold for an automatic recount, Wasley exercised his right to request the procedure, as outlined by Colorado state election law.

Wasley will be responsible for the cost of the recount.

County clerks in Montezuma and Dolores counties, both part of the 22nd Judicial District, were informed of Wasley’s request by the Secretary of State’s Office Tuesday.

“The only thing I can tell you is Mr. Wasley has formally requested a recount and we are in the process of setting it up,” said Montezuma County Deputy Clerk Kim Percell.

Wasley said the request made sense given the close nature of the election.

“Eighteen votes is a narrow margin of more than 3,800 votes cast in the DA primary,” Wasley said. “With such a narrow margin a recount is just common sense.”

Furse said he believes the recount takes away from the important work of the DA’s office and is certain the results of the election will not be overturned.

“While I cannot fault my opponent for using costly political maneuvers allowed by law, recent courtroom events and significant employee turnover further demonstrate that he continues to put his campaign before the interests of justice and his office,” Furse said. “In the meantime, I will patiently await the results of the recount and look forward to the existing results being upheld.”

The recount will be completed in both counties by the same canvass boards that certified the primary results. The counts will be completed by machine, the same method used during the primary.

Percell and Dolores County Clerk LaRita Randolph both said the recount process is new to them, the first either has been involved with, and they are learning as they go.

“I’m going to have to re-read Rule 14,” Randolph said, referring to Colorado election law governing recounts. “We want to make sure this is done right.”

Both Montezuma and Dolores counties have scheduled the recount for Monday, July 23, with Dolores set for 9 a.m. and Montezuma for 9:30 a.m. The deadline to complete recount activities is July 26.

According to state election law, the candidate who requests the recount is responsible for all associated costs.

“I have submitted funds for the cost of the recount,” Wasley said.

According to Percell and Randolph, Wasley will be responsible for nearly $2,600 for the recount, most of which will go to pay salaries.

“Montezuma County’s portion of the recount will be just under $2,000,” Percell said.

“The quote I gave him was $600,” Randolph said. “Most of that is personnel cost. That is where the bulk of the expense comes in.”

Randolph said once results have been tabulated in Dolores County she will most likely forward them to the Secretary of State’s Office and let any official announcement come from that office rather than from the clerk’s office.

Journal Staff Writer Michael Maresh contributed to this report.

Reach Kimberly Benedict at kimberlyb@cortezjournal.com.