Deadline fast approaching for those who want to vote
“Every vote counts.” Sure, it’s a cliche, but it’s also the truth. Just this week a reader told us a story that took place during a local election in the early 1990s. According to this gentleman, he voted on a particular issue early on voting day. As the day proceeded, he changed his mind and went back to the polls. He was allowed the chance to change his vote. The next day he found out that the issue he voted on won by one vote.There are countless anecdotes about very close races at the polls that have occurred in this valley over the years. Several of the most recent mayoral races in the city of Aspen were decided by only a handful of votes. So for those of you out there who never vote because you don’t believe your vote matters … well, it does.The deadline for registering to vote, and to pick up absentee ballots, for the general election on Nov. 5 is fast approaching. In fact, if you are not currently registered, and you don’t sign on the dotted line by the end of the day on Monday, you can’t vote in this election.We strongly urge everyone in the valley who hasn’t registered to vote to do so. We also urge the large contingent of residents who take advantage of the off-season for a little out-of-town rest and relaxation to pick up absentee ballots. The absentee factor has been a large one in local elections.Historically, the Roaring Fork Valley has always produced a higher-than-average voter turnout. But that’s not always been the case in recent years. In several recent elections the turnout has been deplorably low. That’s a disturbing trend, and one we’d like to see reversed.There are a number of critical questions and important political seats up for grabs in this election, issues that could affect each and every one of us for years to come.For Pitkin County government, this is a particularly important election. The county is asking for an extra $800,000 per year for the next five years, money it says is necessary to keep a number of nonprofits, most of which provide assistance in the areas of health and human services, financially healthy. Two of the county commission seats are also up for grabs: Patti Clapper is being challenged by Tim Mooney, and longtime commissioner Mick Ireland is facing a challenge by Ramon Duvernay.In the city (well, in the county too) there is yet another question on the Entrance to Aspen. Voters will be asked if they want to keep the current S-curve configuration or the modified direct alignment, better known as the straight shot, that will bring traffic into town across the Thomas-Marolt open space and through a tunnel.We have heard from many that this is a pointless vote. It is a non-binding question, though the members of the City Council have assured us they will make it binding. The money to build the modified direct is not currently available, meaning there will be plenty of time for future votes, some readers have told us.However, as the situation currently stands, the City Council has agreed to abide by the will of the voters, and the result of this question will likely be the one on which future decisions will be based. It is extremely important that everyone makes their voice heard.There are plenty of other important issues: the fate of Aspen’s trolleys, some serious changes proposed for Basalt’s style of governance, tax increases at local fire districts, and more. The U.S. Senate race between Wayne Allard and Tom Strickland has serious implications for the balance in the federal government, and that race is currently running neck and neck. In this particular race, your vote could affect the entire country.So, take the time between now and Monday evening. Stop by the county courthouses in Pitkin, Eagle or Garfield counties, or download a voter registration form at http://www.sos.state.co.us and get it in the mail before Monday afternoon. It’s a simple process, and well worth the effort.
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