Aspen mayor says in-person voting is fundamental to American democracy
The Aspen Times
Going to a polling place on Election Day to cast a ballot is “fundamental to American democracy,” Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron said during a work session Tuesday.
The Aspen City Council will decide next Monday whether to conduct mail-ballot elections or polling-place elections in the future. City Clerk Linda Manning told the council Tuesday that an all-mail option also would include an in-person voting center option, while a polling-place option also would offer voters the ability to request absentee ballots via mail.
In the last city of Aspen election, 980 people voted in-person and about 2,000 sent absentee ballots, she said. In November, however, the statewide mail-in ballot election resulted in an overall 5 percent higher voter turnout for Pitkin County, Manning said.
The 5 percent increase is a compelling reason to consider the all-mail election, Councilman Dwayne Romero said, with Councilmen Adam Frisch and Art Daily echoing the same sentiment.
But Skadron passionately compared the process of voting as akin to going to church on Sundays — “it should be treasured.”
He talked of Aspen’s small-town character as a reason to encourage in-person voting, citing a “tangible benefit to the community” for maintaining the tradition.
“If mail-in resulted in a significant percentage of more voters, then I could be persuaded,” he said.
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