Michael Bennett

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May 20, 2014
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Locals’ Choice: Voting for our all-star businesses

Your Locals’ Choice vote counts. Winning not only provides a moment of pride for local businesses but also creates a guide for visitors who rely on us to provide our best advice when they come to Garfield County to enjoy a few days in the paradise where we live.

With our new voting engine we expect this to be record year for participation. Over the years, we have worked hard to keep people from cheating the system and stuffing the ballots (you know who you are), as we truly would like to see the results represent reality. By 5 p.m. Tuesday, we had 1,092 registered voters who had cast 38,793 votes.

Sometimes it is difficult to choose just one of your favorites, especially in the food and beverage category. This year we are allowing you to vote once per day — just as Major League Baseball allows multiple votes for its all-stars.

To date this year, we’ve had far fewer complaints than normal, giving us the belief we have improved. Some businesses or services have complained about not being listed in our categories. The ballot has about 100 subcategories, and it would be well into the thousands if we listed every possible scenario. Next year, we’ll require a minimum number of businesses to have a category. What do you think that number should be?

We also have had a business complain that multiday voting gives larger businesses a better chance of winning — just as some baseball fans might think a popular vote for all-stars gives the Yankees an edge. We believe that businesses that provide an excellent experience and have loyal customers can win (and Rockies can be all-stars), especially if they remind their customers to vote often.

Still, smaller businesses will be handicapped in some categories. Take “Best Spa” as an example. Yampah Hot Springs Vapor Caves and Spa of the Rockies are running neck and neck for the lead, while eight smaller spas are trailing in a race for third place. That doesn’t make the smaller spas bad. They just don’t offer all of the services or have as big a customer base and name recognition.

Keep in mind that we aren’t defining the categories. Mary might consider a well-cooked, juicy burger to be fine dining while Jane would thumb her nose at it. Some people nominate businesses in the incorrect category, and those votes won’t be counted. For example, if a restaurant doesn’t serve a dish, say breakfast, and gets votes in that category, those votes won’t be counted.

New this year is that the names of people, businesses, services and places are listed on the ballot as they are nominated. It has been great to see the names of so many people I don’t know getting votes for best teacher, doctor, nurse, dentist, artist, musician, as well as smiles and volunteers.

By adding the best marijuana dispensary this year, voters have let us know how much they disapprove of this new legal business. Another vice, alcohol, also had its share of “none” written in by many of you. Locals’ Choice is not designed for editorializing in this way, although we will welcome your letters to the editor on the subject.

I have the massive task of approving nominations. Spelling, punctuation and capitalization rules aren’t always being followed. Send me a note at mbennett@postindependent.com if you catch an error.

Have fun, vote and keep it real through midnight June 1, when the voting period ends. Go to our website postindependent.com and click on the contest link to vote.


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The Post Independent Updated May 20, 2014 10:24PM Published May 20, 2014 10:24PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.