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Eagle County releases a new tool for viewing ballot images from the 2022 general election

The Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has released a tool allowing individuals to view ballot images from the Nov. 8, 2022, general election.

Users can view, sort, filter, and download ballot images, as well as view the cast vote record and adjudication marks from the 2022 election. This online tool is meant to provide an extra level of election transparency. 

“We strive for openness and accountability in elections, and this is a continuation of those efforts,” Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said. “We are making ballot images available for free in a convenient format for anyone interested. Eagle County is one of the few counties in Colorado offering this service.”

The tool is available at BallotAudit.com/eagle/#/login. Users must enter an email address and password to create a profile before gaining access to the tool.

Eagle River Fire Protection District will ask voters in May for a property tax increase

The Eagle River Fire Protection District this spring is asking voters for some financial help.

The district — which runs from the top of Tennessee Pass to Wolcott, but excludes Vail — at the May 2 election will ask voters for a 2 mill property tax increase. The increase would raise roughly $2 million per year. If approved, the money will be used exclusively for equipment and maintenance, along with facility maintenance. The increase would be just less than $12 for every $1 million in assessed value.

The district was set in 2020 to ask voters the same question in the May special district elections. But the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the district board to pull the question off the ballot.

District Chief Karl Bauer said the equipment list includes both replacement and new gear.

The replacement items include a new ladder truck and self-contained breathing apparatus for firefighters. New gear would include wildland firefighting equipment including both large and smaller wildland trucks.

In a previous interview, District Board member Darell Wegert noted that the current truck is 10 or 12 years old and nearing the end of its useful life.

“Everything has an expiration date,” Bauer said. The district has a “decision matrix” to decide when it’s time to upgrade or replace gear.

“We look into the future so we can plan ahead,” Bauer said.

Bauer added that if voters approve the tax hike, the district will buy a new ladder truck and keep the old one in reserve. When the current truck is sidelined for repairs or routine maintenance, the Vail Fire Department is alerted and that ladder truck is available if needed.

Fire equipment is expensive, and built to order. Bauer said a new ladder truck wouldn’t be delivered for roughly two years, and will probably cost more than $1.2 million.

As the valley’s population grows, more people are living in wildfire territory. That’s why both large and small wildland fire trucks are needed, to both build on the available equipment inventory and have trucks in reserve. An accident on Interstate 70 can knock a truck out of commission for as much as six months, Bauer said.

In addition to the big gear, Bauer said the district is looking into the condition of its self-contained breathing apparatus gear. That gear is worn into smoky buildings and other places where breathable air is hard to find.

Bauer said if that gear needs to be replaced, it will all be replaced at once, so firefighters don’t have to question what kind of gear they’re using.

The ballot question was certified Friday. That means that district officials, including board members, can’t campaign for it on company time.

Bauer said a campaign committee is ready to get to work, adding “we invite the community to ask questions.”

Adam Frisch announces second run to try to unseat U.S. Rep. Boebert in 2024

Western Slope businessman Adam Frisch of Aspen said Tuesday that he is launching his 2024 campaign to defeat U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) in Colorado’s Third Congressional District.

The announcement comes just three months after an exceptionally narrow defeat that defied incredible odds and represented the shock of the 2022 election cycle. 

Frisch plans to hold an in-person launch event in Pueblo at 10 a.m. Wednesday, at the Pueblo Union Depot.

Frisch’s 2022 race against Boebert was the closest congressional contest of the last election cycle, despite election prognosticators asserting that the race wasn’t competitive. 

FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich referred to the race as one of the most shocking potential upsets “in the history of the model,” which gave Boebert a 97% chance of winning. The closeness of the race triggered an automatic recount mandated by Colorado statute that was completed on Dec. 12, 2022 with Boebert barely winning reelection by 546 votes. 

Frisch said he will begin his first campaign tour of the 2024 election cycle on Wednesday to meet with communities across the district. Frisch logged over 24,000 miles traveling the district and holding public town halls during his previous campaign.

He is the second Democrat to announce early intentions to run for the seat, following last week’s announcement by Debby Burnett of Gunnison. Burnett was a candidate for the seat in 2022, as well, but did not earn enough support through the party assembly process to make it onto the primary ballot.

McQueeney: Committed to supporting our workforce

Eagle County is a great place to live! It has been my honor to represent you as your county commissioner for the past several years to address the issues you have told me are important to you. I look forward to continuing to build a stronger community with your vote again this election year. 

I am committed to addressing our housing challenges. During my time as commissioner, 701 new affordable housing units have been created with 151 more on the way. The nine Bold Housing Moves initiatives have been deployed to assist renters and buyers. We increased funding for down payment assistance and 300 loans have been approved since 2015. The sale of Lake Creek Village generated $50 million to be spent on affordable housing projects while assuring rents remain affordable for the Lake Creek tenants into the future. 

We continue to support our community’s early childhood system by supporting quality, capacity and access to child care for our children and their parents. Improving our child care system helps assure that parents who want to work are able to find safe, high-quality care for their little ones.  

I am committed to continuing progress in building an inclusive and welcoming community for all. A new outreach coordinator has been hired to engage, support, empower and listen to our Hispanic community. The county has created a new Spanish website and newsletter (el Ojo del Aguila) with information curated, not just translated, to be of interest to our Latino residents.  

What started with funding from the marijuana tax in 2017 has developed into a true mental health system for our community. This enhanced system now includes a co-responder model for crisis calls, mental health clinicians at all schools, and the groundbreaking of a new mental health healing center in Edwards.

The natural beauty of our county is an integral part of our lives and livelihood. This beauty is what brought many of us to Eagle County and keeps us here. I have worked to protect these resources and ensure that development is strategic, balanced and mindful of our magnificent landscapes. We have preserved 2,371 acres of open space and created a new Eagle County Department of Natural Resources to coordinate efforts for wildlife, water and land. 

Fire danger surrounds our community and I will continue to work to assure we can respond quickly and effectively to fires in addition to preventing them. I’m very proud of all our emergency responders and the stellar responses to the Lake Christine, Grizzly Creek and Sylvan fires. To prevent and reduce the risk from future fires we have helped protect 4,200 acres through wildfire mitigation and prescribed fires. 

The effects of climate change require bold plans and action. With buildings and vehicles being the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions, the county invested in solar and renewable energy sources and now 100% of electricity in all county buildings is utilizing renewable sources. We have entered into a partnership with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments to assist our lower-income communities with weatherizing and electrifying their properties.

Through this partnership, 14 mobile homes have been weatherized and fully electrified. This work will continue for an additional 250 homes by 2027. We continue to advance the work of the Climate Action Collaborative and are making progress in electrifying our vehicles with the purchase of three electric buses for public transportation and replacing more than 25 county gas vehicles with electric. 

We are committed to completing the last 12 miles of the Eagle Valley Trail by 2024. The trail will connect the community from Vail to Dotsero and will also connect Eagle County to Breckenridge and Aspen. Soon we will be able to ride on a bike path from Breckenridge to Aspen through the Vail Valley!  

Despite the unique challenges of the past two years, Eagle County managed to continue work on our strategic initiatives of supporting our workforce, creating a resilient economy and protecting our mountain ecosystem. 

The job of a county commissioner isn’t always easy, yet it offers a wonderful way to touch and improve so many lives. I will meet any new challenges with the same focus on bold long-term solutions and a collaborative spirit  I bring to our county government. 

For more information, you can check out my website JeanneMcqueeney.com give me a call or stop by for a visit.

Jeanne McQueeney is an incumbent Eagle County commissioner who is seeking reelection in November.

LIVE June 28 primary election updates: Lauren Boebert wins, Colorado voters reject indicted Tina Peters

8 p.m. UPDATE: Early results are in for Tuesday’s primary races, after voting centers closed at 7 p.m. around Colorado.

3rd Congressional District

Lauren Boebert has defeated Republican challenger Don Coram in the closely-watched race in the 3rd Congressional District, according to The Associated Press.

“I’m thrilled the voters showed their confidence in me to continue being their representative,” Boebert said in a campaign release after the AP called the race. “Hardworking Americans recognize now is not the time to go along to get along, it’s time to stand up and fight for our American way of life. That is exactly what I will continue to do. Conservative Republicans like me are going to help take back the House in November, fire Nancy Pelosi, and do all we can to get our country back on track.”

Boebert was leading with 64% of the votes tallied before AP’s call came in. In the Democratic primary, Adam Frisch, a former Aspen City Council member, is leading with 44% of the vote over Soledad Sandoval Tafoya, a community organizer from Pueblo, and Alex Walker of Avon.

U.S. Senate

Colorado Republicans on Tuesday nominated a businessman and supporter of most abortion rights with the nomination of Joe O’Dea as their candidate for U.S. Senate. O’Dea said he supported a late-term abortion ban but, before then, the decision should be left up to “a woman and her God.”

Secretary of state

The Associated Press has called the Republican primary race for secretary of state, with Pam Anderson, a former local official who ran on a platform of taking politics out of running elections, easily defeating former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

Over the last year, Peters has appeared regularly with prominent allies of former President Donald Trump, who claims without evidence that the election was stolen from him.

The win by Anderson, a former county clerk and past head of the state clerks’ association, sets up a November match-up with current Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat seeking a second term who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary. — From The Associated Press


The Associated Press called the Republican primary race for governor to challenge Democratic incumbent Jared Polis at 7:57 p.m. for CU regent Heidi Ganahl.

Read the story here.

House District 26

In the Republican primary for House District 26 between Glenn Lowe III of Eagle and Savannah Wolfson of Oak Creek, Wolfson holds the early lead with 3,227 of the 5,938 votes tallied — about 54%. In just Eagle County, however, Lowe has 61% of the local vote in the early going.

For up-to-the-minute election results, go to the secretary of state’s website.

Eagle County primary ballots must be dropped off Tuesday

If you want to vote in this year’s primary election and haven’t yet cast your ballot, you’d better get to it.

It’s too late to drop a ballot in the mail — ballots must be received by the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s Office by 7 p.m. Tuesday. There are a number of drop boxes throughout the county. If ballots are in those boxes by 7 p.m. Tuesday, they’ll be counted, with one exception.

Drop those ballots

Eagle County has a number of locations to drop your primary ballots — it’s far too late to put a ballot in the mail. Here are the Vail Valley locations.

Vail: There’s a ballot drop box at Town Hall. The Grand View Room atop the Lionshead Parking Structure is available for in-person services.

Avon: The Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s annex is in the Lodge at Avon Center, near Bob’s Place.

Edwards: There’s a ballot drop box at the Mountain Recreation building.

Eagle: There’s a drop box at the Eagle County Administration Building, 500 Broadway.

Gypsum: There’s a drop box at Gypsum Town Hall.

Voters registered as either Republicans or Democrats received ballots only for those parties. Unaffiliated voters received ballots for both parties, unless they indicated a preference of only receiving one ballot. Independent voters can return only one of those ballots. If a voter returns both ballots, neither will be counted.

Turnout for the primary election has been light so far.

Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said as of June 25, only about 16% of ballots had been returned. On the other hand, she added, as many as 40% of all ballots are only returned on Election Day.

Eagle County Democrats have only one decision to make, picking a candidate to run for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. The contenders are Soledad Sandoval Tafoya, Alex Walker and Adam Frisch. Only a sliver of Eagle County remains in that district, which tends to elect Republicans to the seat.

The seat is currently held by Republican Lauren Boebert of Garfield County. Boebert faces her own primary opponent in Don Coram of Montrose County.

In addition to the Boebert-Coram race, local Republicans have several other choices to make.

At the federal level, candidates Ron Hanks and Joe O’Dea are seeking to challenge incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet for one of Colorado’s U.S. Senate seats.

In the governor’s race, Greg Lopez and Heidi Ganahl are seeking the opportunity to challenge incumbent Democrat Jared Polis.

Tina Peters, Mike O’Donnell, and Pam Anderson are seeking to face the incumbent secretary of state, Democrat Jena Griswold.

It’s likely the votes will mostly be counted Tuesday evening. Results will be available on the Eagle County website, as well as the clerk’s Twitter account, @ECClerk, and the clerk’s Facebook page.

But results won’t be final until July.

O’Brien said ballots will continue to be scanned up to nine days after the election. Military ballots can take some time to trickle in. Those ballots are the only ones that can have Election Day postmarks.

There’s then a canvass procedure. Once the votes are officially counted and certified, extra-tight races — within a 0.5% difference — can then be subject to a recount.

O’Brien said her office takes the same approach to every election. That’s going to give some good experience to several new election judges who have started this year.

“This (primary election) will be a good opportunity” for those judges to gain some experience, O’Brien said. “Hopefully they’ll come back for the general election in November.”

Longtime chair of Eagle County Republicans out in shakeup

Kaye Ferry since 2007 has served as chairwoman of the Eagle County Republican Party. That tenure has ended, but a new project has begun.

The membership of the Eagle County Republican Central Committee on June 23 voted to remove Ferry from that position. She’s been replaced by Tony Martinez, acting treasurer of the local party.

According to a press release, Ferry was removed in part for not maintaining “pre-primary neutrality.” Ferry disputes that claim.

In a Monday telephone conversation, Martinez called the move “sudden and surprising.”

Martinez said “there was a frustration that had been building” among party members that local Republicans hadn’t been able to find candidates for vacant county elective offices.

“Committee members felt we should be winning elections,” Martinez said.

Moving ahead toward the November general election, Martinez said local party leaders plan to get through primary election season, get nominees in place, then evaluate its options.

“For us going forward, the focus remains on the candidates, and finding qualified individuals to step up and fill the roles of county officials,” Martinez said.

There’s currently just one Republican in county elective office, Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek.

Matt Solomon of Eagle is a Republican seeking election to Colorado Senate District 8. Democrat Dylan Roberts of Avon is also seeking the seat.

The new district is all or parts of 10 counties, including most of the northwestern corner of the state. It includes Gilpin and Clear Creek counties east of the Continental Divide.

Kaye Ferry had led the Eagle County Republicans since 2007 before being voted out last week.
Courtesy photo

Solomon said he’s known Ferry for many years, and is “sad to see her go. She is a kind, strong woman who’s done an awful lot of good.”

Solomon said he’s “optimistic” Martinez will do a good job in his new role and “support all of our candidates in Eagle County.”

Ferry may be done with the county’s GOP hierarchy, but she isn’t done with politics.

Ferry noted that the county’s electorate used to be split about one-third each between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Voter registration records now show that about 52% of the county’s roughly 33,500 registered voters don’t associate with either of the major political parties. Of the remainder, 9,316 are registered Democrats and 6,674 are registered Republicans.

Ferry said it’s time for people in the middle of the political spectrum to come together. To that end, she and other county residents are working to create a new, non-partisan group to encourage better dialog.

The group has scheduled an Aug. 18 candidate debate. The event is set for 6 p.m. at the Eagle County administration building in Eagle.

Ferry said being replaced in the county’s Republican party organization “gives me some freedom” to pursue more centrist politics.

Solomon said that’s his goal, too, adding he hopes the group can find some success outside of the established parties.

Left-leaning voter encourages Rep. Lauren Boebert to focus on what matters

Glenwood Springs resident Martha Cochran outside of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society where she volunteers.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting voters throughout Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Through the month of May, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot & Today. Craig Press and Vail Daily will be running stories highlighting democratic and Republican voters in our communities. Click here to read an introduction on the series.

Political theatrics aren’t exactly what Martha Cochran likes to see when it comes to Rep. Lauren Boebert’s first few months in office, she said.

The 67-year-old Glenwood Springs resident who’s lived in Garfield County — just one of many Western Slope counties that make up the 3rd Congressional District — for the past 46 years considers the political inclinations of Boebert, R-Colo., to be anything but laudable.

“I would say horrified is the most succinct way to put it,” she said. “It’s so unfortunate that we wasted an important seat on what I think is political theater, where there’s no substance at all. It’s such an immature vision of what you think a congressperson should be.”

So far, Boebert’s congressional tenure has included opposing new gun control regulations, Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. Instead, Cochran wants to see Boebert refocus her attention on other issues.

“There’s a lot of important things,” she said. “Climate, any type of gun reform, some of the social justice issues, immigration reform, health care, protection of public lands… all the things that are foremost challenging to our country and what it means to western Coloradans in terms of water and climate for the future here.”

Cochran is a retired executive director of the Aspen Valley Land Trust of many years and a former newspaper publisher. She now works with Space for Giants, an international conservation organization dedicated to habitat production in Africa, and spends her Tuesdays volunteering for the Frontier Historical Museum in Glenwood Springs.

Glenwood Springs resident Martha Cochran does some yard work at the Glenwood Springs Historical Society where she volunteers.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

She said she’s voted both Democratic and Republican the majority of election cycles and is welcoming to crossing party lines.

But come 2022, Cochran said her vote won’t likely go toward the 34-year-old freshman representative.

Despite her distaste for Boebert’s political leanings, Cochran said she’s still hopeful about the bigger picture of politics. “I feel like there is, as opposed to the last four years, where there’s this chaos and lying and kind of tearing down what’s best about America, we’re trying to deal with real issues and having honest policy discussions about what’s the best way to address those, whether its immigration or social change or economic inequality,” she said. “All of those long-term big deals that are gonna affect the future of the states and the world, really.”

“I’m more hopeful than I have been in a long time, she added. “But they’re hard problems.”