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Ballots in the mail for local elections throughout county

Recent voter roll cleanup updates more than 400 addresses

by Adam Broderick

It’s that time of year again. The fall colors are saying goodbye, overnight lows are dropping and political talk is floating around like cottonwood pollen. And as of Tuesday, October 13, election ballots are in the mail.

According to Diane Folowell, election division manager for Gunnison County, 9,893 ballots went out in the mail on Tuesday. Since each precinct has various ballot styles which are unique to each voter, nine different ballot styles were mailed throughout the county.

In Crested Butte, three seats on the Crested Butte Town Council are up for election, as is the position of mayor.

Other measures on the table:

—a proposed .5 percent sales tax increase for the town of Crested Butte to improve and maintain programs and facilities operated by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department;

—measures in Gunnison County and the municipalities to re-establish their authority to provide broadband services to the community; and

—an increase of the Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) sales tax to 1 percent across the county to fund the valley-wide bus service, improve senior ground transportation and expand air service into the local airport.

It seems the recent initiative to update the voter rolls for the town of Crested Butte will have a positive impact on voter participation and appropriateness.

As part of this election cycle, the County Election Division and the Town of Crested Butte entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement in an effort to update the voter rolls for the Town. Often when people move out of the town of Crested Butte they do not update their physical address. They might relocate from town to Mt. Crested Butte, or to Crested Butte South, Almont or Gunnison. But when they don’t update their address and then are mailed election ballots for the town of Crested Butte instead of for their new location, their votes could be counted in the wrong election.

So the town of Crested Butte and Gunnison County spent the past couple of months educating the public on why updating a physical address is important. They also prompted people to update their physical and mailing addresses by mailing confirmation letters to all registered voters with a zip code of 81224.

Folowell reported that 413 voters returned letters to update their physical addresses during the voter roll cleanup and that a large majority of those updates were for relocations within Town limits.  Since people have updated their mailing addresses, she says they’re going to be getting their ballots and voting on the correct ballot issues.

“The ultimate responsibility to keep physical and mailing addresses current with the election division lies with the voter,” Folowell says. “Because we have a university and a ski area, this creates a very transient voter population. Anytime you can do a voter outreach to have people update their voter information, I think that’s always a win-win.”

Completed ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3 at one of two locations at the Blackstock Government Center, 221 North Wisconsin Street, Gunnison—at the Election Division Main Office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or in the drive-by secure ballot box, which is under video surveillance 24/7 at the south end of the parking lot.

To vote in person, visit one of these three polling centers during the hours listed:

Queen of All Saints Parish Hall, 405 Sopris Avenue, Crested Butte

October 26-30, 2015, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

October 31, 2015, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

November 2, 2015, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Blackstock Government Center Elections Division Main Office

October 13-16, 2015, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

October 19-23, 2015, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

October 26-30, 2015, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

October 31, 2015, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

November 2, 2015, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fred Field Western Heritage Center, 275 South Spruce St., Gunnison

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Folowell says at any of these locations voters may drop off their ballots, register to vote and be issued a ballot or change addresses, request and obtain a replacement ballot, use the electronic voting equipment or use the ADA-compliant equipment.

Any questions should be directed to Diane Folowell at (970) 641-7927.

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