Voters set up race for November election |

Voters set up race for November election

Kathy Lippert/Vail DailyElection official Nancy Nottingham explains how to cast a ballot using the new electronic voting machine to voter Travis Martin Tuesday at Minturn Town Hall.

EAGLE COUNTY ” Turnout for today’s primary hasn’t been overwhelming.

Voters have come to the polls in numbers somewhere between “a trickle” and a “slow, steady, flow.”

Polling places in Eagle and Gypsum were beehives of activity compared to upper-valley locations. About 120 voters each had been to Eagle and Gypsum by mid-afternoon. The Homestead Court Club location was pretty quiet, with only 23 voters by 3 p.m. Other Edwards locations, at Edwards Elementary School and the Singletree Pavilion, had only seen about 50 voters each by 2 p.m.

At about 4 p.m., 38 people had voted in Minturn.

By about 3 p.m., just over 70 people had voted at Donovan Pavilion in Vail, election official Ann Eggers said. That’s a light turnout, Eggers said, which she attributed to the relatively few choices for voters.

Those who did vote, though, were willing to share their opinions about why they came out.

Today’s primaries will narrow the field of candidates for both county commissioner and county assessor. County Republicans had to choose one of three commissioner candidates ” Michael Bair, Hugo Benson, and Tom Edwards ” and between two candidates for assessor, Ed Smith and incumbent Joyce Mack.

Local Democrats had to pick only between commissioner candidates Sara Fisher and Mike Lederhause

Benson, who’s running for the Republican nomination, had made a strong pitch to the county’s older residents. A very, very small sample of older voters indicated that the pitch had some success.

“He’s going to work on senior citizens, on property rights,” said Lucy Grewe of Gypsum.

Fellow Gypsum resident Leonard Sinclair was waving Benson campaign signs in the construction zone of the new roundabout on U.S. Highway 6 on the west end of Eagle.

“He’s the best man for the job,” Sinclair said.

The primaries also brought out a few true-blue Democrat partisans. Suzanne Smith of Eagle said she cast her vote for Democrat Sara Fisher.

“I believe in the Democratic values of opportunity for everyone,” Smith said. “I hope Sara shares my views, and any time she’s faced with a decision, she’ll go in with her Democratic values.”

In Singletree, Herb and Sharon Stoloff also came to vote for Fisher. Sharon Stoloff said she’d met Lederhause at last week’s Eagle County Fair and was unimpressed.

“I came out to vote against him,” she said.

Colleen McCarthy of Vail is a Republican, but said she’s going to support Fisher, too.

“Nobody can beat Sara Fisher,” she said.

Another Singletree resident, Jerry Dooher, would say only that he voted Republican.

“I’d prefer somebody more conservative than (Commissioner) Arn Menconi,” Dooher said. “I think those guys are out of control.”

Connie Knight of Vail said she will vote for a candidate who will be able to get something done as a commissioner.

“You’d hope that maybe we can get away from all the bickering and get some work done,” she said.

Chris Hall didn’t want to talk about his vote, but said, “It’s your civic duty. If you don’t elect a government then you deserve the one you get.”

Tuesday’s primaries were also the first test for the county’s new electronic voting system.

“It’s worked very smoothly so far,” election judge Julie Richards said at the Gypsum polling place. “We’ve had very few problems, and very few people asking how to use them.”

McCarthy approved of the new voting booths and complimented Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton.

“The easiest in 28 years,” she said. “Very easy, no problems whatsoever.”

“We’ve only had one voter who didn’t like it so far,” said Judy Balice, an election judge at Edwards Elementary School.

In Eagle, Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton was spending a lot of time on the phone, but said the new system seemed to be working well, except for a notable human error in Edwards.

“We had a plug kicked out at Edwards,” Simonton said. “We have to do a much better job of duct-taping the extension cords.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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