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Hand Counts, Patience for Bluff’s Mayoral Election

Daniel Rayzel
The welcome sign for Bluff gives a nod to the arrival of its indigenous settlers.

After a few days of mayoral candidates patiently waiting for results, San Juan County reports write-in Ann Leppanen won 74 votes and Marcia Hadenfeldt won 71. 

The county clerk’s office said the ballot machine read 72 votes for Leppanen but four of them did not count toward her total, bringing it down to 68. An additional seven write-in votes were counted by hand due to a name being written without the properly marked oval. Of those seven, six went to Leppanen to bring her updated total to 74, a three-vote lead on Hadenfeldt.


On Wednesday, the results of Tuesday’s election were reported as 69 votes for Hadenfeldt and 72 for write-ins. However, it was still unclear how many of the latter went to Leppanen. In a phone call that same day, a representative of the county clerk’s office said there was no set timeline for when the write-in votes would be sorted, leaving the candidates no choice but to wait.


A final canvass is due on July 10, but another representative for the clerk’s office said it could be completed as early as July 3. Due to the tight vote margin, KSJD will not call the victory until certification is complete.


Meanwhile, Jim Sayers and Brant Murray were elected to 1 ½-year council seats, and Luanne Hook and Linda Sosa were elected to 3 ½-year council seats.


The new town council will begin around the start of the new year, following a vote for incorporation in late 2017 and a campaign to win over the area’s 260 residents.

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