Eagle County towns have different plans for elections to deal with COVID-19 shutdown | VailDaily.com
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Eagle County towns have different plans for elections to deal with COVID-19 shutdown

Eagle, Gypsum and MInturn have different plans for April 7 elections

Municipal elections are three weeks away and Eagle County communities are eying how to conduct them in light of COVID-19 circumstances.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com |

EAGLE COUNTY — Municipal elections in Eagle, Gypsum and Minturn are just three weeks away and each of these Eagle County communities has its own COVID-19 approach for the April 7 event.

Eagle

The town of Eagle had already planned a mail-in ballot and its election plan is proceeding, for the most part, unchanged.

“Ballots were mailed from our printer on Monday,” said Eagle Town Clerk Jenny Rakow. “We are proceeding as normal with that.”

Because Eagle Town Hall is closed to public traffic, voters can drop off their ballots at the locked utility payment box located in the parking lot behind Town Hall. Additionally, residents can choose to mail back ballots.

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Rakow expects Election Day will present some social distancing challenges as election judges verify and count ballots. To aid that process, judges will begin to presort ballots next week to help with the Election Day returns.

To learn more about the Eagle municipal election, contact Rakow at jenny.rakow@townofeagle.org.

Gypsum

Gypsum’s April 7 vote is planned as a polling place election, which presents obvious issues in the age of COVID-19 social distancing recommendations.

Along with the problem of people congregating at the polls, Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann said he is concerned about disenfranchising voters because people will be afraid to come out to cast ballots or in isolation on Election Day.

Rietmann is working with the town attorney to determine if the town will proceed with its election or if there is a way to postpone it to a specific, future date. If a postponement is an option, Rietmann said the town will likely conduct its municipal election with a mail-in ballot.

For more information about the Gypsum municipal election, contact Gypsum Town Clerk Danette Schlegel at danette@townofgypsum.com.

Minturn

With its estimated 1,100 residents and approximately 800 registered voters, Minturn was planning a polling place election on April 7. Now the town has a different action plan.

“While we are a polling place election, one of the caveats is that we can do absentee applications and ballots,” said Minturn Town Clerk Jay Brunvand. “It’s one of the procedures that is allowed for in a polling place election.”

So to offer a COVID-19 work-around, Minturn wants everyone to vote by absentee ballot.

“We are really trying to get the word out that you can vote early if you get your absentee ballot,” he said. The town has already collected more than 40 ballots, twice the number of absentee ballots submitted in its last municipal election. So far, he said Minturn residents have been appreciative of this alternative voting plan

Speaking of Minturn’s last municipal election, a total of 204 votes were cast. Brunvald said that manageable number is one of the reasons why the community believes it can reach citizens to let them know about the absentee voting plan.

“I would hate to try to do something like this in Denver,” Brumvald noted.

Brumvald can be reached through the town’s website at minturn.org.


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