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Low voter turnout likely today

Lu Snyder

SUMMIT COUNTY<Polling booths are open today for town elections in Dillon, Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge.Only two towns<Breckenridge and Frisco<have ballot issues for voters to consider. Silverthorne and Dillon each are electing a mayor, and all four towns have council member seats up for grabs.But though the election of council members and mayors can dictate each town1s future, town officials do not expect a high voter turnout.If the numbers from the last town elections<in April 2000<are any indication, town officials might be right in their expectations<or, lack of.Frisco might have had the highest voter turnout in the county that year, with 454 people coming out to vote.3That was a higher-than-normal voter turnout, said Frisco community relations director Linda Lichtendahl.According to Lichtendahl, the town has 1,755 active registered voters, close to the number of two years ago. But Frisco1s 2000 election included mayoral candidates and might have attracted a higher turnout than is expected today.3I don1t think anybody1s predicting yet what1s going to happen, Lichtendahl said.In Breckenridge1s last municipal election, only 244 of the 2,474 registered voters cast ballots, said Breckenridge town clerk Wanda Creen. Like Lichtendahl, Creen would not make a prediction about voter numbers.Though today1s election in Dillon does include mayoral candidates<which often precipitates a higher turnout<Dillon town clerk Jan Thomas said she expects turnout to be similar to that of two years ago, when just 116 of approximately 800 registered voters showed up at the polls.The town has two council members vying for mayor, but only three candidates for the four seats on council. Two of those candidates<Johnny Younger and Mike Smith<are incumbent council members, and Lorin Gardner is a write-in candidate. One seat on council will remain open after today1s election, but it will be filled by appointment after the new council is sworn in.Silverthorne also elects a new mayor today. The town had an approximately 12 percent voter turnout in 2000, but Silverthorne town clerk Michelle Karlin said it1s likely the numbers will be higher this year.There1s generally a better turnout for a mayoral election, said Silverthorne town clerk Michelle Karlin.3We had 82 absentee voters this year<that1s up, she said. 3It1s been a good turnout for absentee voters, so we1re expecting the same for (today).Though every town election<and the resulting elected officials<have an effect on that town1s future, some Silverthorne residents are acutely aware of this as they face issues of growth and sprawl with the potential annexation of two parcels into the town.Three people, including incumbent mayor Lou DelPiccolo, are competing for the mayor1s seat and six for the four council member positions.Silverthorne Area Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth (SANFRG) have endorsed four candidates as 3smart growth choices. But other residents say the smart-growthers actually are no-growthers and point out that 60 percent of the 90-member SANFRG group live outside town limits.The contention might spell out even higher turnout in Silverthorne than expected.Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or lsnyder@summitdaily.com


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