A busy ballot for voters today in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

A busy ballot for voters today in Summit County

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Voting is easy – show up, fill out a ballot and go home. But there are some important things to keep in mind when casting your vote today, according to County Clerk and Recorder Kathy Neel.

Voters can cast their vote at any of the vote centers in Summit County, regardless of where they reside. A Dillon voter can cast a vote in Breckenridge and vice versa, for instance.

It’s also important to remember that voters should not campaign at polling sites.

“You should leave your campaign T-shirts, buttons and hats at home,” said Neel. “You may be asked to take it off or cover it up if you are wearing any campaign paraphernalia.”

Finally, Neel said it is critical to bring an acceptable form of identification. The usual ID for Colorado voters is their state-issued driver’s license, but passports are also acceptable. For a full list, visit the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.state.us.

Neel said she was busy Monday training election judges, while local parties scrambled to ensure voters turn out today.

“There are so many very clear choices in this election,” said Summit County Democrats co-chair Lucinda Burns. “If people turn out, we’ll be looking good tomorrow.”

Burns said the local Democratic party has been making last-minute calls to ensure voters turn out for today’s midterm elections. The party will provide transportation for those who need it through its large volunteer base.

The quantity of ballots turned in as of Monday by Republicans and Democrats were near even at 1,838 and 1,893, respectively. Unaffiliated voters had turned in 1,743 ballots. Other parties accounted for only 35 ballots.

Early voting ended on Friday, meaning the only way to vote now is by filling out a ballot at one of the five area voting locations (see box) or by dropping off a mail-in ballot at one of the vote centers.

Local voters will choose between two of their own in the race for House District 56, with incumbent Democrat Christine Scanlan facing Republican Debra Irvine. Scanlan has run on a campaign built around public education, mountain pine beetle mitigation and supporting the tourism industry and small business. Irvine has positioned herself as a pro-small business candidate while touting the benefits of preparing children for the future and encouraging communities to be prepared for emergencies.

In the State Senate District 16 race, Gilpin County Commissioner Jeanne Nicholson, a Democrat, hopes to fend off Evergreen Republican Tim Leonard. The seat has been held for several terms by Democrats – most recently by Summit County’s Dan Gibbs, now running unopposed for county commissioner.

The only countywide issue on the ballot, 3B, would retain a portion of an expiring mill levy to benefit the Summit County School District. Proponents say the measure is necessary to backfill funding to the school district that has been cut at the state level. Opponents claim the measure puts undo tax burden on second-home owners to support a school district to which their children may not belong.

“3B will pass because the concentrated interest of Summit County’s parents and teachers have in forcing second-home owners to pay for ever-more-elaborate goodies will trump the diffuse interest of aforesaid second-home owners, even assuming they could have a say – which they can’t,” conservative SDN columnist Morgan Liddick said via e-mail.

Many county races are being run unopposed – commissioner, clerk and recorder, treasurer, sheriff, surveyor and coroner – but the assessor race has three candidates vying for the post in Republican Lindsay Backas, Democrat Beverly Breakstone and independent Erik Chapin. Backas is the current Blue River mayor and has promised to increase communication between the department and the public. Incumbent Breakstone has promised to increase efficiency through technology. Chapin has pointed to his 10 years of experience in the Summit County appraisal business as his main selling point and has also vowed to improve the office’s Real Property and Maps website.

Voters in Keystone will have to decide whether to increase property taxes for a Public Improvement District on the Keystone Parkway along Highway 6. Those in favor say the measure will increase the beauty and functionality of the corridor, while those opposed say the $3.4 million project will shift the burden of improving the parkway from Vail Resorts – which currently maintains much of the land – to property owners in Keystone.

Breckenridge voters will decide whether or not to add 1 percent to its lodging tax through issue 2D. The additional revenue would be used by the town to market the Breckenridge resort community to a greater audience. The measure has received support from the restaurant and lodging industries in Breckenridge, as proponents have argued that the benefits of advertising outweigh the costs of having higher lodging taxes than neighboring communities.

Blue River residents will decide whether to create new taxes for sales (2A; 2.5 percent), use (2B; 2.5 percent) and accommodations (2C; 3.4 percent). The measures are aimed at backfilling losses from reduced property taxes with devaluation likely on the way. Town officials have stated the revenue would be used to support town road maintenance and police.

The race for Colorado’s open senate seat has garnered an abundance of national attention. Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican candidate Ken Buck have lit up the airwaves with heated messages. The race has drawn more outside money – approximately $32.4 million – than any other race or issue on this year’s ballot, according to nonpartisan, nonprofit Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group.

Colorado’s gubernatorial race is a three-horse derby featuring Denver Mayor Democrat John Hickenlooper, American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and Republican candidate John Maes. A late entry to the race, Tancredo has usurped Maes in the polls and is whittling away Hickenlooper’s lead as election day approaches.

The race for representative in Colorado’s 2nd District between Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Stephen Bailey also appears on Summit County ballots. The incumbent Polis is considered a shoo-in with left-leaning Boulder in the district, but Bailey has garnered support on a campaign centered around decreasing government to the advantage of the free market.

Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 are often lumped into the same category, as all three are aimed at reducing the size of the state government. Amendment 60 would reverse the effect of so-called “de-Brucing” laws. Amendment 61 would prevent the state of Colorado from borrowing money while place limits on financing for local governments. Proposition 101 would reduce government taxes relating to automotive ownership and telecommunications. Proponents of 60, 61 and 101 say the measures will reduce the size of government to the benefit of the private sector. Opponents argue that if the measures pass, their cumulative impact would cripple the ability of government to operate during difficult economic times. All three are polling poorly.

SDN reporter Drew Andersen can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or drewa@summitdaily.com.

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