Montezuma County preps for primaries with unaffiliated voters

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Montezuma County preps for primaries with unaffiliated voters

Change brings higher cost, might bring higher turnout
Voting stickers at the Montezuma County Clerk’s office at the ballot drop-off station on Nov. 7.
Steve Chappell, unaffiliated candidate for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
Republican Jim Candelaria, Republican candidate for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
Mary Beth “MB” McAfee, Democrat candidate for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
Municipal elections turnout

Cortez and Dolores saw high turnouts in municipal elections this year. In Cortez, 1,502 voters turned out to elect five candidates to the City Council and decide on whether to extend and reduce a sales tax that funds the Cortez Recreation Center. That was about an 8 percent increase from the 2016 election, in which City Clerk Linda Smith said 1,385 people voted.
“I think people are more interested in what’s happening in the municipal government,” Smith said. “I think the Rec Center sales tax was of interest to a lot of people.”
Ballot Question 2A, which will reduce the Recreation Center tax from 0.55 percent to 0.35 percent starting in 2021, passed 1,009 to 465.
Dolores saw an even more dramatic increase voter turnout, with 279 people participating this year compared with 156 in the 2016 election, a 79 percent increase. Town Clerk Lana Hancock said she believed the number of Town Board candidates – 11 running for four trustee positions, and two running for mayor – created more interest among residents. The election also took place after several months of controversy over the previous board’s decision to dismantle the playground at Joe Rowell Park, which drew many town residents to crowded board meetings.
In Mancos, where five candidates ran for four Town Board positions, only 220 people voted this year, compared with 266 in 2016’s uncontested election, a 17 percent decrease.
Montezuma County Clerk Kim Percell said the rise in voter participation didn’t correspond to a rise in voter registrations. Countywide, only 34 people registered to vote for the first time in 2018.

Montezuma County preps for primaries with unaffiliated voters

Voting stickers at the Montezuma County Clerk’s office at the ballot drop-off station on Nov. 7.
Steve Chappell, unaffiliated candidate for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
Republican Jim Candelaria, Republican candidate for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
Mary Beth “MB” McAfee, Democrat candidate for the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
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