Don’t wait until the last minute to cast your vote
by Mark Reaman
The great and historical Crested Butte mayoral runoff election of 2017 comes to a close on Tuesday, December 19 at 7 p.m. Either Jim Schmidt or Chris Ladoulis will be elected mayor that evening. They were the top two vote getters in a four-man race last November but neither received 50 percent of the vote, so a runoff was implemented based on town code.
Run by town clerk Lynelle Stanford, the election is using a mail ballot but those can be returned in person to the Town Hall up until Tuesday evening. Of the 1,389 ballots that were sent out to perspective voters, 198 had been returned to the town as of Friday, December 8.
In the November election, Schmidt received 331 votes to the 296 that Ladoulis garnered. The other two candidates pulled in a total of 110 votes.
Stanford said as it gets closer to December 19, it might be wise to physically bring your ballot to the town rather than mailing it. “The town must receive ballots by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 19,” Stanford emphasized. “By the end of the week, I would recommend dropping ballots off at Town Hall, rather than mailing them. We’ll do a mail run right before the post office closes on Election Day, but the postmark doesn’t count. Ballots must be received by Election Day.”
The town has not run an election in several years. Usually, it is a combined election with the county. In this circumstance, the town has the support of six election judges who are in charge of carrying out the election. Election judges include Beth Hamilton, Sue Navy, Joan Windsor, Bruce Alpern, Marj O’Reilly, and Rochelle Needham.
“They will count votes and determine what ballots will be counted,” said Stanford. “Preliminary sessions are planned for the judges on Friday and Monday, as well as all day on Election Day.”
As usual during an election, the officials remind everyone that only those living in town are legally able to vote. Just because you used to live in town or still have a post office box in town and received a ballot does not mean you can legally vote.
“Voters are required to complete their residential addresses on the affirmation section of the return envelope,” Stanford said. “A voter’s signature is the affirmation that the person’s information is correct.”
The timing of completion of counting the ballots depends on the last few hours of Election Day. If the town is flooded with last-minute ballots, it will take longer to compile final results since the judges can begin counting returned ballots before Tuesday. The town will post the results on its website and social media as soon as the count is completed Tuesday evening.
A margin of 0.5 percent or closer will require a recount. If no recount is needed, the canvass and certification of the election must be completed by December 29. Assuming no recount is required, the new mayor can be sworn in at or before the Town Council meeting scheduled for January 8.
The Crested Butte Town Hall will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for dropping off ballots, and then from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, December 19.