President Donald Trump, state ballot issues are top of mind for some Summit County voters |

President Donald Trump, state ballot issues are top of mind for some Summit County voters

Election workers in Summit County reported strong turnout in Tuesday's 2018 midterm elections.
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With most people voting by mail or through the five 24-hour drop boxes set up across Summit County, lines at the county’s three polling centers weren’t long at all Tuesday. Still, election workers at all three locations reported a strong turnout with a steady steam of voters throughout the day.

What exactly motivated all these people to the polls depends on whom you ask. Rebuking U.S. President Donald Trump was one common answer as the Summit Daily spoke to voters at each of the three election centers, but for some people, local and state issues were no less important.

A woman who’s lived in Frisco the last 45 years and asked not to be identified in the newspaper said she rarely misses the chance to vote. In this year’s races where Republicans ran unopposed, however, she simply left those fields blank because national politics weighed heavy on her mind and she hoped her ballot would send a message to the president.

“My real thing, you know, just to get rid of Trump,” the woman said, explaining that she used to be a Republican but has since left the party. “I can’t stand him so pretty much I went all Democrat.”

And she wasn’t the only one.

“Trump: that’s my motivation,” said Larry Preston, a 70-year-old man who carried himself into the Silverthorne Pavilion on crutches to cast his vote Tuesday. Like the woman from Frisco, Preston said he too hoped to see a wave of Democrat victories from the 2018 midterms.

As for state issues, Preston was especially interested in Proposition 112, which would force greater setbacks on gas and oil developments in Colorado. The proposal has been widely opposed as a job-killer that would greatly limit the gas and oil industry, but Preston wasn’t buying it.

“I voted yes to that,” he said. “I don’t want them drilling in my backyard… I don’t believe so many jobs are going to be lost, and all that revenue’s going to go away; that’s all bull.”

At the Summit County Courthouse in Breckenridge, lines were longer than they were in Silverthorne and Frisco, as about eight or nine people waited in line to vote in person during Tuesday’s lunch break.

One Breckenridge voter, Shantell Caldwell, avoided that line by dropping off her and her family’s ballots, which they had received through the mail, in the drop box, also located at the old courthouse.

Tuesday was a special election for the Caldwells’ son, his mom said, because, at 19 years old, this was the first time he was eligible to vote. The mom described how she and her family all sat down together to over their ballots, looking up information about the candidates and ballot measures, before deciding how they should vote. Not all of the family’s votes fell in line with each other, either.

“He was very into the important things of what he wanted to vote for, and he didn’t want to vote just like his parents,” Caldwell said of her son’s selection process, adding that supporting Colorado Mountain College’s funding measure carried more weight with him than most items because he goes to school there.

“That and then the one about the wildfire protection, those were the two that were probably the biggest,” she said in reference to the county’s 1A ballot measure while agreeing that, at least to her family, local issues were the strongest motivators.

For people like Caldwell, voting transcends partisan politics. She remembers the first election in which she could legally vote but didn’t get to because she was in the hospital giving birth to her daughter. Missing that first election was hard for Caldwell, and if at all possible, she doesn’t miss them now, she explained.

“It’s kind of a tradition,” she said of voting. “It’s like some people will be there for first chair (on opening day at the nearby ski resorts). I’m here on the actual voting day.”

And it was a fine day for an election, said Summit County Clerk Kathy Neel, who hadn’t heard of any complaints or irregularities by Tuesday afternoon.

Neel had workers regularly collecting ballots left at the five drop boxes, and election workers at each of the three in-person voting locations in Summit County described their day as “smooth.”

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