Torre and Hershey pound pavement to get votes in June |

Torre and Hershey pound pavement to get votes in June

Absentee voting for the June 3 runoff election between Tony Hershey and Torre in the race for the remaining Aspen City Council seat begins today.

Anyone who wants to vote early or who won’t be here on June 3 can vote at the clerk’s office in City Hall. Anyone who is already out of town can call the clerk’s office and fax in an application to vote, and the ballot will be mailed to the voter.

This is only the second runoff election Aspen has ever held – the first was in May 2001 between former Mayor Rachel Richards and challenger Helen Klanderud. City Clerk Kathryn Koch said she was surprised to discover that a large percentage of voters in that election turned out for the following runoff.

“I think around 2,000 people voted in the election, and 1,800 or so [voted] in the runoff, so I was surprised,” she said. “But we’d never had a runoff before, so I didn’t know what to expect.”

This year Torre and Hershey are trying to get the word out about the runoff election. On May 6, Klanderud was re-elected as Aspen’s mayor, and Richards was elected to a council seat, beating incumbent Tom McCabe and three other challengers.

“It’s a hard election – you campaign for weeks and weeks, and then you have to do it again for four weeks,” Hershey said. “It’s tough for supporters, too – you’re going to them door-to-door, putting ads in newspapers and on the radio, and making phone calls. Once those first races are over, some people are not as motivated to vote again.”

Torre said he started out his campaign with a voter registration drive, making people aware of dates for absentee voting and the election.

“We still don’t have as much participation as we should to make democracy work well,” he said. “I was pushing for high turnout [for the May election], but it wasn’t as high as we hoped.”

Voter turnout on election day was 1,879, down from two years ago in May when 2,003 votes were cast.

Torre said he’s already placed newspaper ads to make people aware that the election process is ongoing, and Hershey concurred that it’s time for each candidate to make his supporters aware of the runoff.

“I have a strategy, with direct mailings and other things. It’s not a secret, but it’s strategic, and I’m sure my opponent has plans, too,” he said. “Obviously you want to get the people who support you out to vote, not the people who vote for your opponent. That’s true whether you’re running for president, governor or city councilman.”

After the vote on Tuesday, June 3, Richards and either Hershey or Torre will join the council on June 9.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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