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Late returns shrink Matheson's lead

Published November 9, 2012 6:07 pm

Politics • Sanpete County ballots were added after the race was called in unofficial results.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ballots that rolled in from Sanpete County during the wee hours of Wednesday morning shrank Rep. Jim Matheson's already narrow lead over Mayor Mia Love by 172 votes to a 2,646-vote margin.

When Love conceded the race, unofficial election results showed Matheson with a 2,818-vote lead, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.

But Mark Thomas, state elections administrator, said partial precinct tallies from Sanpete came in after the staff had gone home and another set of precinct-level results was emailed to the Lieutenant Governor's Office instead of being submitted through the normal reporting system.

If part of a precinct had reported, Thomas said, it was reflected as an entire precinct having been submitted, even though other ballots were still coming in.

In all, 585 new Sanpete ballots were posted on Wednesday, shrinking Matheson's lead from the original 2,818-vote edge to 2,646 votes, with thousands of absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted.

There are more than 72,000 ballots left to be counted in Salt Lake, Utah, Juab and Sanpete counties, although it is unclear how many of them are in the 4th District. Based on the tally of 4th District ballots in Utah County and an estimate based on the percentage of Election Day ballots in each county that were in the 4th District, about 28,700 would be expected to fall inside the district.

Those ballots will be tallied over the coming days and the results will be announced when the counties conduct their official canvass on Nov. 20.

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke