Pitkin County reports smooth counting
Pitkin County election officials wrapped up ballot counting in the wee hours on Wednesday. Apart from some outstanding military/overseas ballots and a few ballots that need to be cured, all ballots cast in Pitkin County are counted, and winners declared.
Ingrid Grueter, Pitkin County clerk and recorder, said things went smoothly for her office.
“We had good election judge teams, and we had a lot of mail-in ballots, drop box ballots on Monday and the first part of Tuesday. But, in the evening, it kind of started slowing down for us, so it enabled us to finish counting last night at 1:30.”
Just under 70% of eligible voters in Pitkin County cast a ballot in the midterms. Grueter said that’s slightly less than what they saw in the 2018 midterms.
Security guards were present at polling places to protect poll workers and voters.
“It’s sort of an awkward room, and having a security guard there made the judges feel much safer,” she said. “And, obviously, we want to be able to keep hiring election judges. So, that was a good choice.”
If there is a signature discrepancy on a ballot, voters have eight days after Election Day to remedy it. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office continues to accept military/overseas ballots during that time.
And, if anyone has concerns about how elections are run, Grueter encouraged them to volunteer for the next election.
“They can take part!” she said. “Or, try to be an election judge if they want to learn more about it. And, there are always election watchers.”
She said the election will be certified through an official canvass on Nov. 30.
Here’s a summary of election results:
With the exception of the sheriff’s race, Pitkin County incumbents cruised to easy victories. Pitkin County commissioner seats for districts 1 and 2 went to incumbents Patti Clapper (unopposed) and Kelly McNicholas Kury, respectively. Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder Ingrid Grueter won re-election and ran unopposed. Deborah J. Bamesberger ran unopposed for another term as the Pitkin County assessor. And, in a drama-laden race for Pitkin County sheriff between incumbent Joe DiSalvo and challenger Michael Buglione, the challenger won a narrow victory.
Town of Snowmass
Incumbent Mayor William (Bill) Madsen held off challenger Reed Lewis. For Town Council, Susan Marolt and Britta Gustafson will occupy the two open seats, nudging out incumbent Tom Goode.
Voters also approved the diversion of pre-existing tax revenue to workforce housing through ballot measure 2C. No new tax or tax hike will be implemented; rather, a yet undetermined portion of funds from the marketing and lodging taxes will go to workforce housing.
City of Aspen
Voters faced a number of tax-related ballot issues and overwhelmingly approved all three. Ballot measure 2A will impose a 5-10% tax on short-term rentals in the city, with the revenue to support affordable housing, infrastructure maintenance, and environmental initiatives. Ballot measure 2B extends in perpetuity a 0.5% sales tax to support parks and open spaces. And, ballot measure 6A more than doubles the mill levy paid in the Aspen Ambulance District to support and fund the ambulance department.
Crystal Oaks Metropolitan District
Crystal Oaks is a community off of Highway 133 between Carbondale and Redstone. The Board of Directors had open seats on the ballot. For the seats with four-year terms, voters elected all three candidates to the three seats. Wayne Ives, Harlan Nimmo, and Robert Goodwin will all serve four-year terms. Only two seats were open for the two-year term seats, and Michael Thele and Audrey Oberlin beat out Flint Smith.
The district’s voters also faced four ballot measures that ranged from imposing a 13.5 mill levy tax to removing term limits on the board of directors. All passed with wide margins.
The Aspen City Council directed staff to move forward with the Burlingame early childhood education center, but decided it needs more information on the affordable housing units that are part of the schematic design at a work session Monday.