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More than 120 votes already in

Aspen Times Staff Report

More than 120 local voters have either cast their absentee ballots or submitted their ballot applications in the past week, according to the Aspen city clerk’s office.

The clerk’s office opened the absentee balloting booth on April 14, and absentee ballots will be accepted until election day, May 4.

According to the clerk’s office, a total of 192 absentee ballots had been either cast or applied for by 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Of that number, 31 have yet to be turned in, meaning there have been 161 votes cast for two City Council seats, the mayor’s job, and three ballot questions.

The three ballot questions are: Should the city be authorized to issue $13.894 million in revenue bonds for recreation and parks projects? Should the city extend the existing .45 percent “affordable housing and day care” sales tax for another 10 years? Should the city be authorized to sell or lease to the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority up to three acres of land next to the Truscott Place housing complex, to be used for additional affordable housing construction? The number of absentee ballots cast so far in this election is equivalent to more than 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in each of the last two regular city elections, according to city records.

In 1997, the number of votes cast was 1,448, while in the 1995 regular election, there were 1,547 ballots cast.

By comparison, in the most recent city special election, in 1998, out of 5,335 registered voters, only 259 cast ballots, for a turnout of about five percent.

Unlike participants in Pitkin County elections, Aspen voters are not able to cast “early ballots” as a matter of convenience, if they will be in the area on election day.

To be eligible to cast an absentee ballot in this city election, a voter must be registered and must have plans to be out of town on election day.


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