Vail Daily editorial: One ballot, please
This story has been corrected regarding voters’ ability to drop off county ballots in Vail
Mail ballots from Eagle County should be in the hands or mail boxes of registered voters right about now. Ballots for Eagle-Vail’s tax-increase question should have arrived, too. This fall, Vail voters have to make arrangements to either vote by mail or at Town Hall on Nov. 3 to pick at least three new council members.
It can all be pretty confusing. In Vail particularly, numerous people stop by town hall every year looking to drop off their county ballots. County voters this year will be able to drop off ballots at town hall, but in the past people faced an unexpected drive to to the nearest county office, which is in Avon.
People often say about Vail and its ski mountain that people don’t differentiate between the town and the resort company — “it’s all Vail,” they say.
The same is largely true about voting. People want to be able to drop off their ballots where they see a polling place.
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Vail’s Town Council this year shot down a proposal to switch from a polling-place to an all-mail ballot. The reasons were, frankly, pretty weak, mostly having to do with losing the small-town charm of having a polling-place election.
Vail should have a mail election — particularly given the chronically low numbers in municipal elections. Taken a step further, Vail and Eagle-Vail ought to be on the county’s ballot this year.
Let’s face it, elections can be befuddling. Colorado has put a legal halt to ballot language that requires a “no” vote for a positive outcome. But the requirements of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, known as TABOR, can put highly dense, often-confusing language on a ballot. Combine that with getting two ballots in the mail — or voting a state ballot by mail and a town ballot in person — and the confusion only increases.
A vibrant democratic republic requires an active, informed electorate. No one can be forced to vote or become informed about candidates or issues, but the process of allowing a voter’s voice to be heard shouldn’t be any more complex than it has to be. In our fair valley, that means putting every race and every issue in one easy-to-reach place — our mailboxes.