Summit County municipal elections bring in over 5,000 voters
Thousands of Summit County voters turned out for the local elections on Tuesday, April 5, to select town council members and approve local tax increases.
Unofficial election results show a total of 4,970 people voted in the Silverthorne, Frisco, Breckenridge and Blue River elections, town clerks said on Wednesday, April 6.
Dillon representatives were not able to provide updated ballot numbers as of Wednesday. The town counted 662 votes for its Town Council election. Voters could cast votes for multiple candidates, so vote counts do not equate to the number of ballots cast.
Overall, town clerks felt Tuesday’s election was a success. Summit County residents demonstrated an interest in local politics, they said. It was also an opportunity for local municipalities to work together to navigate the chaos that comes with election nights.
This year, 36.67% of registered voters in Frisco submitted ballots, which is nearly 9 percentage points higher than the 27.7% voter turnout in 2020. The town received 852 total ballots to select Frisco Town Council candidates and determine whether to implement ballot measure to implement a short-term rental excise tax. The ballot measure passed, which increased the tax rate on short-term rentals by 5 percentage points within city limits.
Silverthorne had 31% of its registered voters cast ballots. The 2,735 ballots submitted helped determine its town council race and short-term lodging tax increase proposal that hiked the rate from 2% to 6%, which ultimately passed. In 2016, the last time Silverthorne held a local election, the town received 784 ballots, which was a 39% voting rate at the time, Town Clerk Angie VanSchoick said.
While Silverthorne’s voter turnout rate dropped since the last time it held an election, Breckenridge saw an increase with 1,294 total ballots cast in its town council election. That number amounts to a 35% voter turnout, Breckenridge Town Clerk Helen Cospolich said. In 2020, the last time Breckenridge held a local election, the voter turnout was 31%.
“This group of candidates really activated to try to get voters out into the polls or to submit their ballot,” Cospolich said. “As evidenced by the campaign signs all over our community, they really pushed this election in quite a visible way.”
Cospolich said the town registered many new voters during the 2020 election and that the trend continued this year, which was encouraging to see.
Both Cospolich and VanSchoick said their night’s went smoothly. Cospolich and her election judges wrapped up soon after polls closed at 7 p.m. She attributed that to a high number of people dropping off their ballots long before 7 p.m.
Tuesday was VanSchoick’s first time running an election as town clerk. She said she was also able to finish counting ballots at around 8 p.m., which was earlier than she expected. VanSchoick said she relied on her election judges as well as help from the other town clerks and Summit County Clerk Kathy Neel.
“I was just worried that there would be things I wouldn’t do correctly,” VanSchoick said. “But I had a lot of support from the other town clerks in terms of how they ran their elections and processes.”
VanSchoick and Cospolich have not yet broken down numbers on the amount of people who dropped off ballots in person or in the mail. However, both clerks said they counted many more ballots that were dropped off throughout the day on Tuesday than sent in ahead of time.
“We did get ballots back by mail, but we had quite a few more that were dropped off,” Cospolich said. “That’s just a fact of us being a small community and drop boxes being easily accessible.”
The clerks will spend the next 10 days certifying the election results through the canvass process. In that process, the clerks review the signatures of all of the votes, reach out to people whose signatures could not be verified and count remaining ballots that come from overseas or were delayed in the mail, Cospolich said.
The towns have until April 14 to certify the results.
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