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Teams of Pueblo County election workers, each made up of one Democrat and one Republican, prepare some of the remaining 5,000 mail-in ballots to be counted the afternoon of Nov. 10, 2022. The ballots will be crucial in determining whether incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert returns to Washington to represent the 3rd Congressional District or her Democratic challenger, Adam Frisch, takes the seat. (Mike Sweeney, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was leading Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman, by 551 votes on Friday morning, with elections officials in just one of the 27 counties in the 3rd Congressional District with ballots still left to count.

Elections officials in Republican-leaning Otero County said they had about 150 ballots to tabulate on Friday and that it expected to be done with the process by early to mid afternoon. Counties have until the end of Friday to finish counting election 2022 ballots.

The 3rd District race between Boebert and Frisch is headed for a mandatory recount. Even if all 150 ballots left to count in Otero County are in Boebert’s favor, the race would still be within the recount margin.

Boebert was leading Frisch by 551 votes as of 10:06 a.m. Friday.

The ballots that still have to be counted are mostly, if not all, from voters who are in the military or live overseas, or voters who fixed signature issues on ballots they submitted that were initially rejected.

The Otero County Clerk and Recorder’s Office told The Colorado Sun that as of 10 a.m. Friday, it had about 150 ballots remaining to be counted. The county was in the process of counting the ballots and hopes to update their results by early to mid-afternoon.

Moffat County posted its results late Thursday after saying it wouldn’t do so until Friday.

Tiny San Juan County reported its outlasting votes late Thursday afternoon.

Alamosa and Mineral counties, two counties whose results were being watched closely on Thursday afternoon, finalized their results at about 5 p.m. Thursday. The Alamosa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office had initially told The Colorado Sun it didn’t think it would finish counting its outlasting ballots until Friday.

It’s highly likely that a mandatory recount will be triggered in the 3rd District race. Under Colorado law, a mandatory recount occurs when the number of votes separating the leading two candidates is less than 0.5% of the number of votes cast for the leading candidate. 

The Associated Press on Thursday night declared the 3rd District race too close to call. The news organization, which The Colorado Sun relies upon to make race calls before contests are officially certified, says it will await the results of a potential recount to call the race.

The deadline for a mandatory, state-funded recount to be completed is Dec. 13. Candidates can pay for their own recounts, too.

Still, Boebert posted a video on Twitter Thursday night declaring victory in the race. She cited how the votes left to count are far fewer than her lead over Frisch.

“Over the next couple of weeks, this race will have an automatic recount,” she said in the video. “My campaign team and our lawyers will definitely make sure everything is conducted properly.”

Frisch’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on Boebert’s victory declaration and the latest vote count.

Recounts don’t typically shift vote counts by a large margin.

There are 27 counties in the 3rd District, which spans the Western Slope into Pueblo and southeast Colorado. ​​The most populous counties in the district, Pueblo and Mesa, finished counting ballots and posted their results on Thursday afternoon.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....

Elliott Wenzler wrote about politics, water, housing, and other topics for The Colorado Sun from October 2022 through September 2023. She has covered community issues in Colorado since 2019, including for Colorado Community Media. She has been...