Be patient at the polls
A better reason is, of course, that America is a democracy -and Eagle County is, of course, part of America.Eagle County Clerk Sara Fisher said Monday she expects between 8,000 and 10,000 people to cast their votes today – 19,300 are registered to vote in the county. Less than 10 percent of the registered voters – almost 1,700 Republican and Democrat voters – went to the polls in Eagle County in the primary in August.Today, voters will cast ballots in races ranging from U.S. senator, a statewide ban on bilingual education, Eagle County commissioner, more than half the Avon Town Council, water conservation, open space and a conference center in Vail.Aside from the local races, control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives is up for grabs today. But results may not be known for weeks because several of the races are deemed too close to call, a senatorial race in Louisiana is likely to go to a run-off and increased scrutiny abounds after the 2000 “hanging-chads” debacle.”I’m expecting many provisional ballots, which will slow down the process at the polling location,” Fisher said.Provisional ballots, which were used in the state for the first time in the primary election, could also delay the results on very tight races, as it happened during the primary, Fisher added.It took county officials three days after 1,300 Republicans cast their votes in the primary to declare a winner in the county assessor’s race – Joyce Mack of Edwards defeated incumbent Jody Caruthers by 13 votes after counting 19 provisional ballots.”To be counted, the affidavits in the provisional ballots need to be fully completed to be verified,” she added.Fisher said the Clerk and Recorder’s Office on Monday received dozens of calls from people who haven’t updated their voter registration since they moved.”If you moved more than a month ago and haven’t notified the Clerk’s Office, you’ll likely spend a little more time at the polls,” she said.”We’ve gotten an abnormal amount of phone calls from people who’ve moved over 30 days ago – some over two years ago – and haven’t taken the time to update their voter registration. It’s going to take them a little longer.”Fisher said she expects many provisional ballots cast by people in this situation.”And those ballots won’t be counted until Thursday, when we verify their eligibility to vote,” she said.There has been a tremendous increase in people voting from home this election, Fisher said. By Monday, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office had received 4,595 absentee and early-voter ballots.”It’s a substantial increase over the election four years ago,” Fisher said. “People are using it to their advantage.”When and where the lines will be longest today is hard to predict, Fisher said. The polls will be open today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”I expect the Vail precints to be busy because they have an issue on the ballot – Referendum 2C, a property-tax increase for public repairs and renovations; and Referendum 2D, a sales- and lodging-tax increase to build conference center in Lionshead,” she added.Fisher advised voters to avoid going at the noon hour or after work.”People just need to remember this is a process that takes place every two years and everyone’s schedules are busy,” she said. “Give yourself enough time to let the process work. And be patient and polite during the voting process. Poll workers need time to give each voter the attention they need before they move to the next voter.”THE PLACESPolls will be open for the general election from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The locations of polling places are listed below followed by their precinct numbers:- 1 – Red Cliff Town Hall, 400 Pine St.- 2 & 12 – West Vail Lodge, 2211 North Frontage Rd.- 3 – Minturn Town Hall, 302 Pine St.- 4 & 22 – Edwards Elementary School, 0122 Meile Ln.- 5 & 16 – Eagle County Building, 500 Broadway.- 6 & 9 – Gypsum Town Hall, 0050 Lundgren Blvd.- 7 – Basalt Town Hall, 101 Midland Ave.- 8, 24 and 25 -Eagle County Community Center, 0020 Eagle County Dr.- 10 – Burns Baptist Church, 22545 Colorado River Rd.- 11 -McCoy Community Center, 26 McCoy Rd.- 13 – Vail Town Hall, 75 South Frontage Road.- 14- Vail Mountain School, 3160 Katsos Ranch Rd.- 15,18 and 19 – Avon Elementary School, 850 West Beaver Creek Blvd.- 17- Eagle-Vail Pavilion, 538 Eagle Rd.- 20 & 21 – Singletree Community Center, 1010 Berry Creek Rd.- 23- Eagle Baptist Church, 14600 U.S. Highway 6.THE RACESVail- Referendum 2C – Property tax increase for public repairs and renovations.- Referendum 2D – Sales and lodging tax increase to build conference center in Lionshead.Avon- Four seats are open on the Avon Town Council. The candidate are: Bob Angel, Bobby Bank, Tab Bonidy, Debbie Buckley (incumbent), Rene Martinez, Mike McClinton, Mac McDevitt (incumbent), Steve Miller, Ron Neville, Brian Sipes (incumbent), Albert “Chico” Thuon, and Ron Wolfe.- Referendum 2E – A “use tax’ to place a 4 percent tax on all building supplies used in Avon. Revenues would fund buses and recreatioN.Gypsum- Referendum 2F – Proposes repeal of eight-year term limits for Gypsum Town Council.Eagle County- Eagle County Board of Commissioners, District 3: Commissioner Tom Stone, Republican (incumbent); Laurie Bower, unaffiliated; Gerry Sandberg, Democrat.- Referendum 1H -Property tax increase to raise $2.9 million a year to buy open space.- County Sheriff – Deputy Joe Hoy, a Republican; Deputy Bill Kaufman, Democrat- County Clerk and Recorder – Earlene Roach, Democrat; Teak Simonton, Republican.- Referendums 1A through 1G -Term limits, seven separate questions repealing term limits for each elected position in Eagle County: assessor, clerk and recorder, county commissioner, coroner, sheriff, surveyor and treasurer.- Referendum 5A – Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, allows the district to increase debt to build parks and bike paths; install irrigation pipes; and landscape, among other improvements.RegionalReferendum 4A – Colorado River Water Conservation District, property tax increase to raise $2.5 million a year for water conservation.State- Amendment 31 -Initiative would dismantle bilingual education in public schools by placing non-English speaking students into a one-year immersion program, after which they would join regular classes.- U.S. Senate – Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican; Tom Strickland, Democrat.- U.S. House of Representatives -Rep. Mark Udall, D-Boulder; Sandy Hume, Republican.- Governor -Gov. Bill Owens, Republican; Rollie Heath, Democrat.- Attorney General -Ken Salazar, Democrat; Marti Allbright, Republican.Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.