Eagle County home-rule election is on
EAGLE COUNTY Eagle County is asking voters for the second times in six months if they want to switch to a different style of government that allows more tailor-made rules.Mail ballots in the home-rule election arrived at the homes of registered voters this week. Ballots are due at the Eagle County clerk’s office by 7 p.m. May 1. There is no precinct voting; the election is mail-in only.The biggest change proposed from switching from a statutory to a home-rule style of government would be an increase in the number of Eagle County commissioners from three to five. The Roaring Fork Valley portion of the county, which includes El Jebel and most of Basalt, would be guaranteed a seat at the table since it would constitute one of five districts.Voters rejected the switch in the style of governments in last November’s election. There were 6,298 votes against the measure and 5,473 in favor – or a margin of 7 percent.However, proponents of home rule believe the question was buried in a big ballot and that some voters didn’t fully understand the issue. Nearly 1,500 Eagle County residents who cast ballots in November didn’t vote on the home rule question, said Jacque Whitsitt, a political activist from Basalt. That is far greater than the 800-vote margin of defeat.Whitsitt is helping lead the campaign in favor of home rule. Proponents plan to go door-to-door in the midvalley this weekend, and a flier went out to registered voters this week. No opposition has surfaced in the Roaring Fork Valley portion of the county.Whitsitt said proponents felt confident returning to voters so soon after a defeat because of results of a survey. It showed the majority of voters like the idea of increasing representation in county government and boosting the number of commissioners to five.The survey also showed that people didn’t want to remove partisanship out of elections for commissioners. So, the proposed Home Rule Charter was altered to allow the Democrat and Republican parties to select candidates via primaries for the commissioners’ elections. Unaffiliated candidates can still work their way onto the ballot.Proponents established a website at http://www.homerulefacts.com.
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