Eagle County sees ‘huge’ turnout for elections
EAGLE COUNTY — Voters dropping off ballots in Avon on Tuesday walked past a restaurant’s advertising sign that read, “Before you move to Canada, join us for lunch.”
A steady stream of voters entered and left the Avon polling station. Whether it was the presidential election or a hot-button local issue, voter turnout was the highest Eagle County Clerk & Recorder Teak Simonton has seen in her 16 years.
“It’s extremely important,” said Jon Dambra, of Avon. “All of these people posting on Facebook all of the time about what they think, and half of them aren’t even getting out to vote.”
Simonton and the rest of the Clerk & Recorder Office staff sent out about 30,000 ballots this year. Almost 26,000 were returned, Simonton said Tuesday night. In 2012, there were about 22,000 ballots returned.
“It was a huge turnout,” Simonton said.
Local issues people were talking about included the ballot questions regarding affordable housing and educational programs.
“There were a lot of wordy ones on there,” said Jason Hamrick, of Edwards.
The big one on the ballot this election was for president, which brought many people out to vote.
“I think a lot’s at stake,” Chris Whitmire said. “Even though some people might not like either candidate, I believe that we still have to vote. Otherwise, our voice isn’t heard, and how can we complain if we don’t vote?”
“It’s sad,” said Kristen Simpson, of Vail. “I’m really not into politics, but I do think it’s important to exercise my right to vote. But I’m not too excited and not too happy to vote with the state of our nation.”
The support for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is polarizing.
“I’m totally a Trump supporter,” Dambra said, “and I know it’s crazy. A lot of people are bashing me for it, but I’m a Republican. And also from a business perspective, that’s why I think a lot of people are voting for Trump.”
“I think it’s kind of insane,” said Cat Moloney, of Avon. “I can’t believe an actual politician is running against an insane person. But I’m glad I got to vote.”
Across the county, and the country, American citizens exercised their right to vote.
“We can’t take that for granted,” said Ben Finn, of Minturn. “Regardless of the outcome, at least you had a chance to do it. We’re lucky here.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.
Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.