Unofficially, the race is over. Officially, a few things have to happen before incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is certified as the winner of her first reelection bid in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
Boebert overcame controversy, scandal and an unexpectedly strong challenge from former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch, barely eking out a win.
Election officials tallied the last few remaining ballots in the race Friday morning, putting Boebert ahead of Frisch by just 554 votes out of 327,110 cast, a margin of 50.08% to 49.92%, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The far-right congresswoman declared victory Thursday night, posting a video on Twitter.
“We have won this race,” Boebert said. “With this victory and with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives we can focus on the issues that actually matter most, including getting inflation under control, increasing our domestic energy supply, securing our southern border and being a strong check on the White House.”
During a news conference Friday morning, Frisch said he had called Boebert to concede the race. He also thanked those who worked on his behalf and called for the politically divided country to come together and work toward “normalcy.”
“We’ve shown the country what western and southern Colorado can do,” Frisch said. “We’ve shown that extremist politicians can be defeated.”
Despite the two candidates’ acknowledgment of the race’s likely outcome, the matter isn’t yet settled in the eyes of Colorado’s election officials. First, the votes must be recounted.
Because Boebert won by so few votes, Colorado’s election law requires an automatic recount. She had to win by at least 819 votes — a number equal to half of 1% of the top vote-getter’s tally — to avoid an automatic recount, but even then Frisch could have requested one himself.
Here’s how the process works:
First, election officials in the 27 counties covered in Boebert’s district must audit and “canvass” their elections, a process in which bipartisan teams examine voter turnout and determine how many ballots were rejected, fixed or disqualified. The counties have until Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 to report their audit and canvassing reports to the Secretary of State’s Office, respectively.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold can’t officially order an automatic recount in the race until after those reports are in, and she has until Dec. 5 to make the call. Once a recount is ordered, a board of election officials must test the voting machines to be used to make sure they’re counting accurately before they start the process.
The recount process must be finished by Dec. 13 (that deadline extends to Dec. 15 for recounts requested by candidates). Only after that process is finished can the race’s results be certified.
Recounts are unlikely to change the outcome of a given race, though. A statewide recount this summer resulted in a change of 37 votes total, far from the hundreds of votes that split Boebert and Frisch.
In her victory speech, Boebert acknowledged the upcoming recount and said her campaign team and lawyers would watch the process closely. But she added that her win is unlikely to be reversed.
“Come January you can be certain of two things,” Boebert said. “I will be sworn in for my second term as your congresswoman. And Republicans can finally turn (outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy) Pelosi’s house back into the people’s house.”
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