National Democratic and Republican groups have deployed to Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District to help find voters whose ballots need “curing” as control of the U.S. House could potentially hinge on the outcome of the race between Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman.
Boebert, who is seeking reelection to her second two-year term, was leading Frisch by about 1,100 votes, or less than 1 percentage point, on Monday morning. A smattering of votes will be counted through Friday and it’s unlikely the race will be called until the end of the week — at the earliest.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic U.S. House campaign arm, has staff on the ground in Colorado, as does the Republican National Committee.
The groups are trying to help the potentially thousands of voters in the 3rd District whose ballots were rejected because of signature discrepancies. The voters have until Wednesday to fix those errors, through a process known as curing.
It’s unclear Monday exactly how many ballots were rejected in the 3rd District and how many are eligible to be or already have been cured. Party officials and volunteers can try to track down voters whose ballots need to be cured to inform them of deadlines and help them address any issues.
Clerks in the 27 counties in the 3rd District, which spans the Western Slope into Pueblo and southeast Colorado, also have until Wednesday to accept ballots from military and overseas voters as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 8, Election Day.
All votes must be counted by the end of Friday.
Recounts, if they are requested and paid for by a candidate, must be completed by Dec. 15.
As of now, the 3rd District race is outside of the mandatory recount margin. An automatic recount paid for by the state is triggered under Colorado law when the number of votes separating the two candidates is less than 0.5% of the number of votes cast for the leading candidate.
While Democrats have secured control of the U.S. Senate, it’s unclear whether they or the GOP will have the U.S. House majority when Congress reconvenes next year. The Boebert-Frisch race is one of several unresolved contests that could decide which party is in charge.
“The main thing we want to get across is there’s no sense in hitting your refresh button until Thursday or Friday,” Frisch told The Colorado Sun. “I know it’s frustrating for everybody.”
Frisch said he feels he is still in the fight. He will attend new U.S. House member orientation this week in Washington to prepare for a possible victory, he told Colorado Public Radio.
Boebert, meanwhile, is raising campaign funds for a possible recount and has deployed former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, to help oversee the counting of outstanding ballots.
“I need you to help us ensure we have the resources to finish what we started!” Boebert tweeted Friday.
Much attention has been paid to the vote count in Pueblo County, the most populous county in the 3rd District. Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz, a Democrat, told The Colorado Sun on Monday that his office has finished counting all normal ballots and that it has fewer than 1,000 ballots to count, including about 125 ballots from military and overseas voters and fewer than 500 ballots that have been cured.
Ortiz said the county expects to have a final count by Thursday.
Still, Pueblo is one of 27 counties in the 3rd District, and it’s unknown how many military and overseas and cured ballots will be counted in each through the end of the week.
Frisch estimated there are as many as 5,000 votes that still need to be counted, but it’s unclear what that number is based on.
The close margin in the 3rd District was unexpected as the district leans heavily in Republicans’ favor.The tight contest suggests Boebert’s constituents are fed up with the congresswoman’s controversies during her two years in Washington.
The 3rd District has not sent a Democrat to Congress since John Salazar was reelected in 2008.
Colorado Sun staff writer Elliott Wenzler contributed to this report. Colorado Sun editor David Krause contributed to this report.