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Judge to decide validity of Broomfield election

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm •  Published: February 25, 2014

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) — A judge will now decide the fate of Broomfield's fiercely scrutinized election and whether to throw out a fracking ban that passed by just 20 votes.

Lawyers on Tuesday wrapped up closing arguments in the two-day trial that focused on how ballots were counted and handled before and after the election. The trial is the result of a challenge by pro-fracking groups.

Unofficial results indicated the five-year ban failed by 13 votes, but a recount showed it passed by 20 votes out of more than 20,000 votes cast.

Questions were raised during the trial about possibly ineligible voters and uncounted ballots. The Broomfield Enterprise ( reports that ban opponents must prove that at least 20 ballots were wrongly counted in order for Judge Chris Melonakis to throw out the results of the election.

Some of the votes at issue include military and overseas ballots that were mailed to Adams County and not counted because they were forwarded to Broomfield after election day.

Broomfield attorney Bill Tuthill acknowledged that 10 ballots were miscounted because of residency mix-ups. Three came from people who hadn't lived there long enough to vote but were accidentally counted. The ballots of six voters who did meet residency requirements were wrongly discarded because election workers didn't think they lived there long enough. The tenth ballot was cast by a voter who changed her name. Her ballot wasn't counted because her signature didn't match the name on the ballot.

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