It’s finally municipal election time in Gypsum | VailDaily.com
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It’s finally municipal election time in Gypsum

After COVID-19 delayed April 7 vote, resident received mail-in ballots last week

Gypsum's variable message board sign reminds residents to turn in their mail-in ballots for the July 7 election. COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the election being postponed from its original April 7 date.
Pam Boyd/pboyd@vaildaily.com

GYPSUM — Around 700 residents voted in the last Gypsum municipal election. As of today, more than 4,000 town residents have ballots in hand for the July 7 vote.

The town was initially slated to conduct its regular municipal election on April 7, but COVID-19 orders in place at that time restricted public gatherings to no more than 10 people. As a result, town officials opted to postpone the municipal election until July 7 and to conduct this year’s election by mail-in ballot. This marks the first time Gypsum has conducted a mail-in vote.

According to Gypsum Town Clerk Danette Schlegel, on June 15 the town mailed out 4,083 regular ballots and 21 military and overseas ballots for the July 7 election. Because this year’s vote is a move into uncharted territory, Schlegel doesn’t have any turnout predictions. But she does expect higher turnout than past municipal election because of the convenience of mail ballots.

“This way, you can vote in your pajamas,” she said.

Voters must return the ballots by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, by mail or at the Gypsum Town Hall ballot box.

Six candidates, three seats

There are six candidates vying for three four-year terms on the Gypsum Town Council. The candidates include incumbent members Tom Edwards, Chris Huffman and Marisa Sato. The challengers are Kathleen Brendza, Cicero DaSilva and Jesse Meryhew. Originally, there were seven candidates for the election, but candidate Lori McCole was appointed to the council in May to fill the vacancy created by the passing of longtime council member Pam Schultz.

The Daily has sent out questionnaires to the six candidates and their survey responses will be published during the week of June 29-July 4.

Busy Ballot

Along with the council races, Gypsum has a busy ballot for its 2020 municipal election. The town is presenting a funding question and several town charter amendments to the voters.

Last fall, the Gypsum Town Council pledged $20,000 to the Save the Lake campaign, which is working to raise money to purchase the popular Sweetwater Lake Resort. Members of the Gypsum Town Council decided to ask the voters if they support donating an additional $80,000 to the effort.

The charter questions reflect the changes Gypsum has undergone since the document was approved nearly 40 years ago. The charter questions include:

  • Election timelines: Colorado HB15-1130 changed the timelines for filing nomination petitions, and this change would reflect the state law.
  • Initiative and referendum processes: This change would clarify the rules for the processes and reflect state regulation.
  • Powers and duties of the mayor: “Back in 1982, Gypsum had one or two employees and the mayor, and they ran everything,” Cole said. “The way your charter is written, the mayor has the power to come in and run the show, but that hasn’t happened recently.” Gypsum now operates in a more conventional manner, with the mayor and Town Council making policy and the town manager implementing their actions. The charter change reflects that practice, Cole said.
  • Hard copy or electronic copies of ordinances: This change allows the town to provide ordinance copies both electronically or by hard copy.
  • Posting and publication: This change would designate the town’s website as the official location for any posting or publication of notices and documents. Currently, the Eagle Valley Enterprise and the Vail Daily are the town’s official publication venue.

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