by Ralph Routon
State Sen. John Morse of Colorado Springs, and El Paso County's medical marijuana industry, finally can celebrate, two Tuesday nights after the election.
At 7:32 p.m., the county's election office released the latest results from the recent 2010 election, adding in more than 4,500 validated provisional ballots.
Those votes had the potential of disrupting the two closest races from the local election, perhaps even changing the outcome.
Instead, the drama is over.
Morse's slender lead in the Senate District 11 race over Republican challenger Owen Hill, which had been about 250 votes, actually grew in the end to a 340-vote margin with 743 more ballots counting. Morse finishes with 13,866 to Hill's 13,526, which computes to more than a 1 percent difference.
With that, Morse will continue to serve not only as the city's only Democratic state senator, but also as the Senate Majority Leader.
As for County Question 1A, which asked voters if they wanted to prohibit medical marijuana centers in unincorporated areas of the county, the "no" side (supporting the MMJ industry) led by fewer than 250 votes. Since this was a countywide issue, all of the validated ballots counted.
But those ballots, as with Morse, actually made the "no" vote more convincing, by adding 2,411 to just 1,856 yes votes. The final total comes to 93,747 against 1A's prohibition of MMJ centers, and 92,855 in favor.
County residents who want to do away with medical marijuana had hoped for a 1A victory, while others feared that such a result would lead to costly lawsuits against the county. Instead, that threat appears to be gone now.