A final look at Eagle County ballots, which are due on Tuesday, Nov. 6
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EAGLE COUNTY — National numbers are already showing nearly twice as much early voter turnout in this year’s midterm elections versus four years ago.
How high will the bar be set? Vote before Tuesday, Nov. 6, to be a part of a new record.
Here’s a look at the ballot:
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Eagle County is part of two congressional districts, District 2 from East Vail to Avon, and District 3 for western areas.
Both districts have Democrat, Republican, Independent and Libertarian candidates running.
In District 2, Joe Neguse is seeking to take over for Jared Polis as a Democrat in the seat. Colorado native Peter Yu is hoping to upset him as Republican.
Meanwhile, Independent Nick Thomas points out that he actually represents the most voters in the district when you include registered non-affiliates, while Libertarian Roger Barris held a well supported, full-time campaign as Libertarian.
In District 3, Republican incumbent Scott Tipton seeks to hold his seat against a challenge from Eagle County’s former representative in the Colorado House of Representatives, Diane Mitsch Bush. Gaylon Kent challenges as the Libertarian candidate, while Mary Malarsie is running as an Independent.
With Gov. John Hickenlooper leaving office, the state’s highest office is up for grabs.
Vail and Avon’s longtime congressman Jared Polis hopes local voters continue to support him as he switches his focus from national politics to state issues in a run for governor. Republican Walker Stapleton hopes voters support him as they did in 2010 and 2014 as Colorado State Treasurer.
The Unity Party, now officially a minor party in Colorado with more than 1,000 registered voters, has selected Bill Hammons, who founded the Unity Party in Colorado in 2005, to join the governor’s race in 2018.
Evergreen High School graduate Scott Helker, who moved to Colorado when he was 6 and got his undergraduate degree from Western State in Gunnison, is the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor in 2018.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican incumbent Wayne Williams seeks to fend off a challenge from Democrat Jena Griswold for Colorado’s Head of State. The race will also feature candidates from the American Constitution party and the Approval Voting party.
With Walker Stapleton leaving office and hoping for the governor’s seat, the state’s treasury manager will have a fresh face. The major party candidates both know the state well — Republican Brian Watson was raised in Olathe while Democrat Dave Young grew up in Colorado Springs.
The American Constitution party also has a candidate in Gerald Kilpatrick, a Certified Public Accountant.
When current Attorney General Cynthia Coffman made a run to become the Republican nominee for governor, it allowed George Brauchler to enter the attorney general primary unopposed. Phil Weiser, a former dean of the University of Colorado Law School and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration Justice Department, is the Democrat’s choice for the state’s top legal officer.
Denver attorney Libertarian William Robinson III is running for attorney general as a Libertarian.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Vail and Avon voters will select between businessman Johnny Barrett, a Republican, seeks to challenge incumbent Democrat Angelika Schroeder, who is currently the chairwoman of the State Board of Education and represents Congressional District 2.
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO REGENTS
All Eagle County residents will have a chance to select a new member to the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado, and western Eagle County residents will get a chance to select two members to the nine member board, which oversees the third largest employer in the state with a budget of $4.5 billion.
From the state at large: Democrat Lesley Smith takes on Republican Ken Montera. Unity party member Christopher E. Otwell also challenges the position, along with James K. Treibert.
From Congressional District 3: Republican incumbent Glen Gallegos seeks to hold his seat against a challenge from Democrat Alvin Rivera and Libertarian Michael Stapleton.
Vail native Kerry Donovan, a Democrat, looks to retain her state senate seat, which she has held since 2014, amid a challenge from Republican Olen Lund.
Democrat Dylan Roberts, an Avon resident who was appointed to the District 26 seat in the state house by a 15 member committee from Eagle and Routt counties after Diane Mitsch Bush stepped down in 2017 to focus on her run for U.S. Congress, seeks to hold onto the seat now in 2018. Challenging him is Republican Nicki Mills and unaffiliated candidate Luke Bray.
Incumbent Democrat Jeanne McQueeney seeks to hold onto her seat on the county’s three-member governing board as challenger Jacqueline Cartier opposes as her as a Republican.
EAGLE COUNTY OPEN SPACE
Ballot question 1A will ask voters for permission to extend the existing open space property tax for 15 years beyond its current expiration in 2025. Originally approved in 2002, the 1.5 mill property tax funds the county’s open space program to the tune of about $4.5 million per year.
UNCONTESTED COUNTY POSITIONS
Running unchallenged in Eagle County in 2018 is County Clerk & Recorder Regina O’Brien, Treasurer Teak Simonton, Assessor Mark Chapin, Sheriff James van Beek, surveyor Kelly L. Miller and coroner Kara Bettis.
TOWN OF AVON
Eight candidates are vying for four seats on the Avon Town Council. Incumbents Scott Prince and Sarah Smith Hymes join former council member Tamra Nottingham Underwood and newcomers Mick Van Slyke, Chico Thuon, Tom Ruemmler, Adrienne Perer and Russell J. Andrade on the ballot.
Avon is also asking voters, through ballot Issue 2B, to impose a new tax of $3 per pack on cigarettes and an additional 40 percent sales tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
TOWN OF MINTURN
Minturn, via ballot Issue 2B, seeks to levy an additional tax of 4 percent on construction materials used in town. The tax would be imposed on any amount above $10,000 for the materials used in construction projects.
GREATER EAGLE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
Recent assessments of the state’s Gallagher Amendment, which stipulates that residential property taxes reflect 45 percent of the state’s total property tax revenue, has resulted in a $700,000 drop in funding to the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District. In ballot question 6A, residents of the district will be asked to halt future Gallagher assessment drops and restore funding to 2017 levels.
GYPSUM FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
Also in an effort to exempt the district against future Gallagher property tax assessment rate declines, the Gypsum Fire Protection District asks voters, through ballot Issue 7E, that the district’s annual property tax mill levy be adjusted annually.
COLORADO MOUNTAIN COLLEGE
Colorado Mountain College is following the lead of the fire districts in Eagle and Gypsum and asking voters to increase tax rates in the six-county district. That increase won’t raise any more revenue but will allow the college to maintain the funding taxpayers now provide.
Current law states that in order to be elected as a member of the Colorado General Assembly a candidate must be 25 years or older. Amendment V is a measure that changes the age of qualification for a member of state legislature from 25 years to 21 years of age.
Ballot language for voting in judicial retention elections currently uses the language “Shall Judge (name) be retained” for every judge. Amendment W is a measure that would change the language to ask the question once for each category of judges, such as Colorado Court of Appeals judges, and then would be followed by a series of boxes where voters can vote for each named judge separately. The measure aims to eliminate repetitive language.
When Colorado voters legalized marijuana in 2012, they also created a constitutional definition for “industrial hemp.” Amendment X looks to remove that definition, which is the same as the federal definition, so that the state can adopt the federal regulations in the event federal laws change.
AMENDMENTS Y and Z
Under the current system, elected officials are largely responsible for creating and approving congressional and legislative district maps. Amendments Y and Z would change the current system by creating independent redistricting commissions, each made up of 12 people. Amendment Y effects U.S. Congress, and Amendment Z effects the state legislature.
Section 26 of Article II of the Colorado Constitution currently says “Slavery prohibited. … except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Amendment A abolishes the provision that allows involuntary servitude to exist in Colorado’s Constitution as punishment for a crime, or any other circumstance.
Currently Colorado has a single-rate income tax of 4.63 percent. Amendment 73 would provide an additional $1.6 billion for schools by replacing the state’s current single-rate individual income tax with a progressive tax that raises the rates by taxpayers with taxable income over $150,000 per year, as well as increasing the state corporate income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 6 percent. Amendment 73 also changes constitutional property tax law; for the purpose of determining property taxes to support schools, the percent of home value that is taxed is 7 percent and 24 percent for non-residential property value.
Under Colorado Constitution, when the government takes or damages private property they must provide “just compensation,” determined by a court-appointed commission. Private property owners may only seek compensation if their land is taken or obtained by the government for public use. Amendment 74 requires the government to provide compensation when a new law or regulation reduces the market value of private property.
Currently campaign contribution limits vary from race to race, ranging from $50 to $3,650. Most state races have campaign contribution limits of $200-$575. Amendment 75 would add a new section to the campaign finance contribution limits in Article 28 saying if a candidate contributes or loans more than $1 million to their own campaign or another committee involved in their election, then other candidates would be increased to five times the current limit in the state constitution.
Transportation funding in Colorado comes primarily from an excise tax on each gallon of fuel and diesel purchased as well as vehicle registration fees. Proposition 109 requires Colorado Department of Transportation to borrow up to $3.5 billion for a 20-year period to be used exclusively on road and bridge expansion, construction, maintenance and repair on the 66 projects identified in the measure. The proposed measure requires the bonds be repaid with existing state resources.
Proposition 110 increases the state sales and use tax from 2.9 percent to 2.52 percent from January 2019 to January 2039, allowing the Colorado Department of Transportation to borrow up to $6 billion for transportation projects. The measure also creates a citizen oversight commission.
“Payday loans” are short-term loans for up to $500 that loan lenders can currently charge an interest rate of up to 45 percent plus charges and fees. Proposition 11 would cap all charges on payday loans, inclusive of interest rates and fees, at 36 percent annual percentage rate.
Current setback requirements for oil and gas wells from areas such as homes, schools, hospitals and water sources vary for every project, ranging from 150 feet to 1,200 feet. The current setback requirements for any occupied structure is 500 feet. Proposition 112 creates a 2,500 foot buffer zone between new oil and gas wells and areas such as homes and schools. It will only effect new drilling permits and does not change the ability of an oil and gas company to engage in horizontal drilling, known as fracking, to access untapped minerals.