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JeffCo's $567 million school bond election still pending

Measures 5A and 5B in Jefferson County were aimed at raising taxes to pay for schools.

GOLDEN — On the way into the Jefferson County Elections Division, Kay Slater wants answers.

"Just asking that they continue counting and give us results and not wait," Slater said.

Slater and Sally Kate Tinch are co-chairs of We Are JeffCo. This campaign pushed for the passage of measures 5A and 5B in Jefferson County. 5A appears to have passed by a significant margin, allowing the Jefferson County School District to raise property taxes in exchange for an added $33 million in revenue for the operating budget.

Measure 5B would allow for increased property taxes to support the district in obtaining a $567 million bond to pay for repairs and renovations at schools across JeffCo. The first vote tallies showed 5B losing by about 9,000 votes.

"We were really discouraged Tuesday night. It looked like we were failing our schools; like we were failing our teachers; like we were letting our school buildings go to waste," Tinch said.

But, as more votes were being counted, 5B kept catching up to the point where as of Friday afternoon, it was failing by only 132 votes.

"Watching the numbers the last couple of days has been incredibly encouraging," Slater said.

That' why Slater and Tinch went down to the elections division. They wanted to find out why it's taking so long to count the remaining ballots.

"It feels like a hostage situation really," Tinch said. "I can't sleep. My stomach's in knots. I want to see this come to resolution."

Gary Vandestouwe is the director of elections for Jefferson County. He says he was not expecting so many voters to cast ballots on Election Day in person. He says the additional 10,000 ballots is slowing down the whole counting process.

"Right now, we're working through 10,000 names to verify that they were correctly given credit for voting," Vandestouwe said. "We couldn't handle anymore and we really couldn't handle the amount that did come in."

Slater feels like this is all good news for 5B.

"People who support our particular issue tend to show up in greater numbers on election day and so I'm incredibly encouraged that most of the 10,000 we're waiting on, came in that day," Slater said.

Results may be posted anytime between now and Tuesday. Election workers plan to work over the weekend and Veterans Day until everything is completed.

"We're almost there," Slater said.