Denver Elections Division election judge Mario DeBono, right, closes a door on the elections division's mobile voter service & polling center outside Swansea Recreation Center in Denver's Swansea neighborhood on June 4, 2019 in Denver. Photo by Andy Colwell, special to Colorado Politics

Sorry, Denver voters, but -- even after a general election in May and a runoff that ended Tuesday -- your election may not be over yet.

With just 315 votes separating candidates Paul López and Peg Perl in the race for Denver clerk and recorder out of 144,495 tallied so far, the election could be headed to an automatic recount.

Final unofficial results released at midday Wednesday showed López, currently a city council member, with 72,405 votes and Perl, a lawyer and ethics watchdog, with 72,090 -- a difference of just 0.22 percentage points.

Under Colorado law, an automatic recount is triggered in an election if the vote spread between the first-and second-place candidates is not more than 0.5 percent of the leading candidate's vote total. And 315 votes is 0.43505 percent of López's total.

First, though, the Denver Elections Division will be counting military and overseas ballots that are still coming in over the next week,  spokesman Alton Dillard said Wednesday.

Also, officials are reviewing so-far-uncounted ballots that were left unsigned or have signature discrepancies -- a process called "curing" -- before the election results are made final June 13.

> RELATED: DENVER RUNOFF 2019 | Clerk and recorder candidates neck and neck

López claimed victory in the race, but acknowledged the possibility of a recount. In a Facebook post, he called on his supporters to help cure ballots not yet counted.

"If someone forgot to sign their ballot or forgot to provide an ID as a first-time voter, we need to make sure that every vote is counted, every voice is heard, and our supporters have their votes counted," he said.

Perl, meanwhile, deemed the race "too close to call" in a Facebook post.

"If the current margins hold, we appear to be within the range to then trigger an automatic recount," she said. "We are working with the Denver Elections Division to confirm the timeline. Thank you to the great public servants at Denver Elections for staying late and working hard to provide transparent, accurate, and timely election results."

Perl was narrowly leading after the polls closed Tuesday. But then overnight into Wednesday, López pulled ahead.

Even if an automatic recount (at taxpayer expense) is not triggered in the race, a candidate could ask for (and pay for) a recount.

Current Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson announced in July 2018 she would not seek a third term but rather retire after 25 years of public service.

The office manages city elections and handles marriage licenses, foreclosures and government records, among other duties.




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