Pot draws more votes than commissioners | VailDaily.com

Pot draws more votes than commissioners

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY ” If the rest of Colorado voted like Eagle County, marijuana would be legal.

If the rest of the state voted like Eagle County, an amendment to define “marriage” as only between one man and one woman would have failed, and another ballot issue to create “domestic partnerships” between same-sex couples would have passed.

If the rest of the state voted like Eagle County did, Democrats would be waiting to take the oath of office for two elected jobs won by Republicans.

But mostly, marijuana would have been legalized.

Only a statewide school spending ballot issue and the governor’s race got more total votes than the marijuana initiative, and only three local races even made the list of the top 10 issues and races receiving votes.

A total of 12,754 people voted in the three-way race for Eagle County commissioner, 67 less than the number who voted for a proposed tax increase to pay for early childhood programs. The marijuana-legalization measure drew 12,913 votes.

Looking at the numbers of ballots cast, people seemed to vote in the biggest numbers for state ballot issues.

On Election Day, a few people said they were voting primarily on big-picture issues, and hadn’t really put much research into the local ballots.

Others who voted the full ballot mentioned state issues as the things most important to them in the voting booths.

In Gypsum, Randy Belisle first mentioned Amendment 43 ” which defined marriage as between a man and a woman ” and Referendum I ” which created “civil unions” for same-sex couples ” when asked what drove him to the polls Tuesday. He voted yes on both issues.

Another voter, David Collins, voted only in the sheriff’s race ” for challenger Scott Griffin ” and for marijuana legalization.

“I don’t even smoke weed, but I think (Sheriff) Joe Hoy wasted a lot of money going after people who smoke weed,” Collins said.

County Commissioner-elect Sara Fisher ran several elections while she was Eagle County Clerk and Recorder. She said the big vote totals for state issues “doesn’t surprise me, really.”

“Sometimes people with passion vote on issues that have meaning to them,” Fisher said. “Someone who hasn’t followed local issues that closely will sometimes just vote for the issues important to them.”

And sometimes relatively new voters just cast ballots.

Sometimes it’s along party lines, which could explain the heavy vote for Democrats this year, an election when Democrats capitalized heavily on voter dissatisfaction with Republicans.

Sometimes, people vote just to vote. “When I was clerk the coroner always got the most votes,” Fisher said.

That happened this year. Coroner Kara Bettis, running unopposed, pulled the most votes of any local candidate.

And, apparently, sometimes people vote for the right to light up.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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