Election officials still counting votes

Posted at: 12/04/2012 5:37 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Nearly a month after the election, there is still no declared winner in the race for New Mexico House District 23 in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties.

Election officials spent Tuesday counting the votes again.

"At the end of the day, when those results were certified, there were only 66 votes separating the winner from the loser," Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse-Oliver said.

Republican candidate Paul Pacheco received 6,918 votes, while Democratic candidate Marci Blaze came up short, but not far behind, with a final count of 6,852 votes.

That mere margin, less than one-half of one percent of the total votes cast, mandated an automatic recount under state law, Toulouse-Oliver said.

"I feel pretty safe saying that the outcome of this race is not going to change," Toulouse-Oliver said.  "66 votes out of, you know, 12,000 plus cast, the likelihood of that many votes changing as a result of a recount is very low."

The small number of separation between the candidates may slide a vote or two, to account for machine or human margin of error, Toulouse-Oliver said, but without the race being a tie, it is likely Pacheco will come out on top this second time around.

"With this many votes separating the two, I don't think the outcome is going to change but we're going to double check that," Toulouse-Oliver said.

Results are expected to be released within the next few days.

Click here to see vote totals for missing Bernalillo County absentee votes.