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Growth prompts new voting precincts

Kathy Heicher, Enterprise Reporter

Here’s yet another sign of growth: Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton says it’s time to add some new voting precincts to the county.

Colorado law requires county clerks to periodically re-evaluate and re-configure precinct boundaries, ensuring that there is at least one precinct for every 1,200 active, eligible voters. Simonton recently presented a proposed map of new precinct boundaries are to the Eagle County commissioners.

She is proposing to increase the number of voting precincts from the current 25 to 29, reflecting new growth in the county. Simonton said the additional precincts will take the pressure off existing precincts that are close to the statutory limit.

In the lower valley, a new precinct is proposed to serve voters in the Cotton Ranch, Chatfield Corners and Horse Pasture subdivisions in Gypsum; and in the Eagle Ranch, Terrace and Brush Creek neighborhoods in Eagle.

Simonton is also proposing a new precinct encompassing Lake Creek and Lower Homestead at Edwards; and Bachelor Gulch, Arrowhead, Miller Ranch and Riverwalk at Edwards.

“We’re trying to anticipate growth,” Simonton told the Eagle County Commissioners at a recent meeting.

Proposed precinct lines were drawn using recent dwelling unit analysis data and the county’s GIS computerized mapping system. Simonton said she attempted to include neighborhoods into a single precinct whenever possible. Voter response from the last election revealed some confusion about polling places when several precincts were split along streets or natural boundary lines, rather than by neighborhood.

Simonton said she also hopes to eliminate complaints from voters who, in the last election, found themselves driving past one polling place in order to reach their designated balloting location on election day. The problems were reported primarily by residents of Upper Brush Creek Road, the Horse Pasture subdivision and Gypsum Creek.

The proposed changes should take care of those issues, Simonton said.

Voting precinct boundaries do not affect county commissioner districts. However, precincts do figure prominently in the early April caucuses, which are the most grassroots-level of the political nominating process.

The county commissioners indicated general approval of the proposed changes. Formal approval of the changes will take place at a later date. Voters who have questions about their precinct location should contact the county clerk’s office at 328-8710.


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