Leave the stuffed donkeys and "I Dig Dubya" signs at the door. Partisan bickering is not welcome tonight.
The Routt County Democratic Party meets at 7 p.m. in the commissioners' hearing room, but organizers hope more than card-carrying Democrats show up.
Republicans, Libertarians, independents and the like are invited to participate in one of a series of forums aimed at educating people of all political persuasions about issues.
"We're trying to pick issues that appeal to voters, not necessarily one party or the other," RCDP Chairman Ken Brenner said. "We're not there to sign people up for the Democratic Party."
Brenner took over the Routt County Democratic Party in March when former chairman Ben Beall stepped down after nine years. Beall called for "some new blood" to lead the party.
Brenner, Beall, and a few diehards who showed up for the changing of the guard took one look around the room and decided it was time for some new faces, as well.
Tonight's meeting marks the first of several discussions design-ed to increase participation and interest in party politics.
If the forums pique people's interests in the Democratic Party, that's even better, Brenner said.
There are plenty of unattached people for the taking.
As of May 20, 4,822 registered Republicans, 3,819 registered Democrats and 5,938 unaffiliated registered voters were living in Routt County. That means more than 5,000 residents have not yet registered to vote.
Brenner said he is not so concerned about the ratio of Republicans to Democrats as he is about the ratio of informed to uninformed residents.
"I'm not worried about the number of registered voters," Brenner said. "I'm worried about people making intelligent decisions."
Democrats hope to draw in individuals who eventually would consider giving Republicans a run for the votes.
They don't want a repeat of last November's ballot, which featured no Democratic challengers for Routt County offices.
People who show up tonight will hear from city and county representatives on their respective budget process, status of their reserves, how those dollars are earmarked for certain projects and the strategy behind tax initiatives.
The audience can then ask questions of the presenters.
"This is not just for Democrats," Brenner said. "It's for anybody who has concerns about taxes and the whole public process."
Future meetings will highlight growth and water concerns.
Routt County Republican Party Chairman Harmon "Buck" Buck-land senses some of Democrats' frustration with stagnant participation.
"We usually have approximately the same cadre," he said of turnout to his party's monthly meetings.
Different outreach strategies are planned to promote new membership in the Republican Party, he said.
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