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Political reform returns to voters

Alison Miller
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” Voters beware: If you did not vote in the November General Election, you may not receive a home rule election ballot in your mail box this April.

Only those who voted in the last election are still considered “active voters” and will receive ballots, but all other registered voters ” about 5,000 of them ” need to contact the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office to participate in this special election, said Teak Simonton, county clerk.

“Anybody who did not vote in the general election has an inactive voter status, but they should have received confirmation cards in the mail to become active again,” Simonton said. “It’s not that they are not eligible to vote, they just need to take some steps to take themselves off the inactive list.”

Those who were not mailed a notification card, or did not return it, can call the county clerk’s office or fax a signed voter form available on the county’s Web site, Simonton said.

The approximately 17,000 active voters in the county do not have to take any steps in order to be mailed a ballot, Simonton said. Anybody who wishes to register for the special election must do so by Monday.

It was easy to notify the county of her desire to become active again, Wolcott resident Catherine Peloghitis said.

“I don’t really know about the home rule election, but I did get a card about my voter status,” Peloghitis said. “I called to reactivate already. It’s funny because it was the first time in eight years I didn’t vote in November.”

Delays in getting the final ballot question to the printer mean the ballots won’t be mailed out until April 10, about a week later than planned, Simonton said. Voters will receive their ballots at least 15 days before election day, she added.

The county ordered 20,000 ballots that will be addressed by an independent contractor at a cost of $1.75 per voter, Simonton said.

“It’s a simple ballot with just one question about home rule,” Simonton said. “We will be accepting them until 7 p.m. on May 1. They must be in our possession by then, and people should be safe and give their ballots three days to be mailed back.”

Ballots can also be returned at drop boxes in the Avon, Edwards or Eagle county clerk’s offices, said Simonton.

“I encourage people to do their homework and know what they are voting for or against, but be sure not to hold on to them for too long,” Simonton said.

Voters who want to read the revised version of the home rule charter before they vote can do so at the county’s Web site, said Simonton. Copies will also be printed in several local newspapers throughout Eagle County over the next two weeks, she said.

“I want to see the new charter that was redone before I decide which way I vote,” Edwards resident Paul Swette said. “I do think Basalt and those areas need representatives. It’s only fair and it’s good governance for everyone, not just the upper valley and Interstate 70 corridor.”

Information about the election has been easy to get, said Swette, an active voter.

“I think the county is doing a great job on this election, and more than that I think it’s good they decided to have the election again,” Swette said. “The Legislature said they could, so they should … and I’m glad they did.”

As the county receives ballots back they will be counted, verified, logged-in and stored until election day, Simonton said. Though it is unknown when the results of the election will be made official, Simonton said preliminary results will be released May 2.

Staff writer Alison Miller can be reached at 748-2928 or armiller@vaildaily.com.


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