Will more dollars equal more yes votes? | VailDaily.com

Will more dollars equal more yes votes?

Alison Miller

==========================================QUOTE”Everybody that I know or have talked to who supported it before has voted no because they feel like a vote is a vote.”- Dick Gustafson====================================================================================Web extrasTo see a copy of the proposed Eagle County Home Rule Charter, see this story on http://www.vaildaily.com=================================================================Bring in your ballotVoters can drop off ballots at the Eagle County clerk’s offices:• 100 W. Beaver Creek Blvd. in Avon• 500 Broadway in Eagle• 20 Eagle County Dr. in El Jebel=======================EAGLE COUNTY – Thousands of dollars have gone into campaigning for and against Home Rule, and in four days the county will have it’s final answer from the voters on the proposed government reform.Proponents of the change, Citizens For Home Rule, raised three times more than their opponents, Citizens For Responsible Government, according to the Secretary of State’s official Fair Campaign reports.As of April 22, Citizens For Home Rule had collected $10,035 in their second attempt to get voters to approve switching to five commissioners and give citizens the opportunity to place issues on election ballots. “We have had some very generous and loyal donors,” said Don Cohen, Home Rule Charter Committee chairman. “I think we raised more this time because after it failed in November people got a chance to really think about it and became even more motivated and supportive.” Citizens For Responsible Government reported a total of $3,250 in contributions to campaign against home rule, which was defeated in November’s election. State law allows the charter a second chance on the ballot. Giving $200 to the fight against home rule, former county commissioner Dick Gustafson said he gladly contributed to what he thinks is a “travesty.””What’s going on is a travesty, and I would contribute to work against any malfeasance that was going on,” Gustafson said. ‘A vote is a vote’The donors who gave the most in support of Home Rule were Sandra Donnelly of Edwards, $2,000; Bruce Smathers of Jacksonville, Fla., $1,000; and East West Partners, $1,000. Two current county commissioners also donated to the cause. Sara Fisher gave $100, and Peter Runyon wrote a check for $250 in addition to the $250 he donated during the first election on home rule. Seeme Hasan, who donated $1,000 to Citizens for Responsible Government, was listed as the committee’s top giver. Robert Balas and Monica O’Farrill each donated $500 to round out the list of top three contributors. Residents of the Roaring Fork Valley who supporters say would gain increased representation from five commissioners accounted for 16 of the 37 donations to Citizens for Home Rule. There were no contributions made to Citizens for Responsible Government from the Roaring Fork Valley.Former Basalt councilwoman Jaque Whitsitt contributed $500, the largest amount given to the campaign of donors from the Roaring Fork Valley. About 16,000 ballots went out to Eagle County voters, and 5,454 were returned as of Friday morning, said Teak Simonton, County Clerk. The word is out and Cohen said he hopes the money spent on campaigning will have a positive effect on the outcome of the vote.”There’s much more exposure this time,” Cohen said. “We have increased our efforts from the fall when there were so many other things on the ballot that people were just overwhelmed with information on all the issues.”Just the fact the issue is back for a second time is irritating to voters and causing them to vote no, said Gustafson. “Everybody that I know or have talked to who supported it before has voted no because they feel like a vote is a vote and it should be counted no matter what the outcome was before,” Gustafson said. ‘We should win’ Citizens For Home Rule have out spent their opponents on campaigning, spending more than twice as much as Citizens For Responsible Government.”We’ve gone to people’s homes, ran radio and newspaper ads, put up lawn signs and now we are calling people who received ballots but haven’t mailed them back in yet,” Whitsitt said. “It’s going great and I haven’t heard from or of anyone who is against it here. If effort and goodwill have anything to do with it then we should win.”Supporters have spent $6,375 on the various forms of advertising since they began their second push to pass the county government reform. Citizens For Responsible Government has spent $2,950, all reported as brochure expenses. Ballots are due back to the county’s Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 7 p.m., Tuesday. It takes about three days to mail a ballot back in, said County Clerk Teak Simonton. Voters who are worried about their ballots not being delivered on time can drop off ballots at any of the county’s offices throughout the valley.Staff writer Alison Miller can be reached at 748-2928 or armiller@vaildaily.com.

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