Eagle Co voters face a long, complex ballot
Ballots are usually pretty jam-packed in presidential election years. This year’s ballot is an exceptionally busy one.
Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said this year’s ballot is two sheets, each 81/2 inches wide and 14 inches long. Ballot issues fill all four sides of those sheets of paper.
The top of the ballot is the presidential race, of course. Beyond Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, voters will have a host of minor-party choices. O’Brien said including Trump and Biden, there are 21 presidential choices on the ballot, as well as space for write-in candidates.
After that comes Colorado’s major statewide race, for the U.S. Senate currently held by Republican Cory Gardner. He’s being challenged by Democrat John Hickenlooper, the former two-term governor.
There also will be a host of state ballot issues, from raising taxes on cigarettes to changing the way the state’s property tax system.
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Those state issues can be viewed on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, http://www.sos.state.co.us.
Lots of local issues
In addition to state issues and the usual regional and local questions about whether to retain judges in office, there will be a large number of local issues.
All county voters will see several questions, in addition to this year’s two races for Eagle County commissioner. Commissioners are elected from specific districts, but all county voters cast ballots for those offices.
In Commissioner District 1, the eastern portion of the county, incumbent Democrat Matt Scherr is being challenged by Republican Jennifer Woolley. In District 2, which covers roughly Eagle to Edwards, incumbent Democrat Kathy Chandler-Henry is being challenged by Republican Thomas Crisofulli.
In addition, all county voters will be asked to remove the county from the Gallagher Amendment, which sets the percentage of local property taxes paid by residential and commercial property owners.
All county ballots also will have Democrat Dylan Roberts, who is running unopposed for re-election for the Colorado House of Representatives District 26 seat.
All the ballots also will have a tax-increase proposal from the Colorado River Water Conservation District.
Several ballot questions will depend on where voters live. Voters in the Eagle County School District — which encompasses the Eagle River Valley and the northern part of the county — will see a question whether the district can extend a mill levy override first passed in 2016.
Voters in the Eagle River Fire Protection District, which covers the valley from Tennessee Pass to Wolcott, also is asking for relief from the Gallagher Amendment.
Voters in the eastern part of the county will pick between incumbent Democrat Joe Neguse and Republican challenger Charlie Winn for the state’s 2nd Congressional District.
Voters in the 3rd Congressional District will pick between Republican Lauren Boebert and Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush. Boebert defeated incumbent Scott Tipton in June’s primary election.
A number of town questions
Several of the county’s towns will have town-specific questions this year.
The town of Vail is asking voters for Gallagher Amendment relief.
Avon is holding its usual Town Council election. The town also is asking voters for Gallagher relief. Voters are also being asked to amend the Avon Town Charter to allow individual council members to decrease or decline their council pay.
The town of Eagle is asking voters to change the town’s lodging tax from a flat $4 per day to 6% of the per-day rate. The town also is asking for Gallagher relief.
The town also is asking a specific group of voters to create a downtown development authority. O’Brien said the town will have to verify that voters live within a defined downtown area before allowing those residents to vote on the question.
Gypsum is asking voters to replace the county’s current tax on cigarettes and tobacco products with a town-specific tax. That proposed tax is the same as the county’s: $4 per pack on cigarettes, and 40% on tobacco and nicotine products.
Ballots will be mailed beginning Oct. 9. O’Brien said voters should have their ballots in three to five business days.
Voter service centers will open Oct. 19. Those centers will be at the Eagle County Administration Building in Eagle, Avon Town Hall, and in El Jebel at the county administration office there.
Voters can either replace ballots or register to vote at those center.
A voter service office will open Oct. 30 at the Grand View Room atop the Lionshead parking structure in Vail.
The county also will have a number of 24-hour drop boxes for ballots, in Eagle, Edwards, El Jebel and Basalt. A drop box in Vail will open Oct. 30.
Drop boxes across the state accept ballots from any county, so a student currently attending college in Grand Junction, Boulder or elsewhere can drop a ballot into a box there, and it will get to Eagle County.
For those who prefer to mail their ballots, it’s going to cost 70 cents for postage. O’Brien said there are actually 70 cent stamps. A combination of a first-class, 55-cent stamp and a 15 cent stamp also will work.
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