Saturday, October 29, 2011
Editorial Board, Sept. 25, 2011, to January 2012
- Scott Stanford, general manager
- Brent Boyer, editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.
Routt County voter turnout was approaching 40 percent by the end of the business day Friday. While that number already surpasses local turnout in the 2009 election, it’s not good enough for an election that features a number of important issues that affect the everyday lives of residents. Registered voters still have two days left to weigh in with their ballots, and we urge them to do so for the benefit of our entire community.
More than 4,500 mail ballots had been completed and returned to the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office by midday Friday. That equates to a 38 percent turnout among the county’s 11,753 active voters. The county has another 6,000 registered voters who are classified as inactive because they did not vote in the last general election.
Whether active or inactive, every registered voter in Routt County can — and should — still fill out a ballot before the 7 p.m. Tuesday deadline.
We’ve seen tremendous passion from residents this election season, particularly on local referendums regarding a new sales tax to support the winter air service program at Yampa Valley Regional Airport and whether to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from our communities. A statewide proposition seeks a sales tax and income tax increase to provide funding for public education. The Steamboat Springs City Council, Steamboat Springs School Board, South Routt School Board and Colorado Mountain College have contested races to be decided. Oak Creek voters will determine whether to tax themselves to help fund an expanded police department. West Routt Fire Protection District residents could increase their taxes to fund more firefighters and equipment.
These are important issues and races that shouldn’t be decided by less than half of the voting-eligible population. We’re all better served when a majority of the population cast ballots.
For those who still have their mail ballots, fill them out before 7 p.m. Tuesday and drop them off at the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in the Routt County Courthouse. A postmark date of Nov. 1 does not suffice. If your ballot is not at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 7 p.m. Tuesday, it will not be counted.
For those who haven’t received a mail ballot, stop by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office to determine the best way for you to vote. The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
It’s not unusual for turnout to wane during odd-year elections, but it doesn’t make it right. We’ve seen good grass-roots efforts by various local groups to encourage their supporters to vote, including voter registration drives and creative marketing campaigns. Voters now have 48 hours to make their voices heard. Don’t give up your most fundamental democratic right.