County Clerk and Recorder Peach Vigil slammed back in a her black office chair and exhaled skyward, signifying deep exhaustion, after reading the 2020 unofficial election results for Las Animas County and accepting a high-five from the off-screen shoulder of Chief Deputy Joseph Mestas.
The presentation was via Zoom and though not the usual raucous courthouse event, provided a short glimpse of the honest reality of election management during a global pandemic — such is life in the age of COVID-19.
The focus of the nation will rest on the presidential election (a race impossible to call by our press time), yet locally more modest referendums will have far greater impact.
Both local referendums 1A, a boon for Las Animas County and Referendum 2, a funding measure for the town of Cokedale, achieved voter approval.
In the legislative races, as of press time, Richard Holtorf (earlier appointed to fill the term of the late Kimmi Lewis) appeared to have a commanding lead over Democratic challenger Dean Ormiston of Baca County for the District 64 House of Representatives seat. Meanwhile, in the Senate District 35 race, local champion Carlos Lopez won Las Animas County, yet as of writing, was losing across the district though the race was too early to call.
Voter turn out was a lot higher than in past races. Out of 9,845 registered voters, some 7,611 or 77.31 percent made the effort to cast their ballots in this heated race.
In the presidential race Joe Biden was leading the state by a wide margin, yet in Las Animas County the incumbent Donald Trump took the most votes, as he did in 2016.