Garfield County voters talk about their choices
Just after noon on Election Day, first-time voter and Silt resident Litzy Rivera, 19, sat in the waiting room of the voter service and polling center on the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle.
With just about every voting booth full with residents doing their civic duty, she had to wait a few moments for her number to be called. The wait, however, was worth it, because the young Latina woman wanted her community to be heard.
“We are a diverse community, and I think that it’s important to represent that here,” she said, sporting a facemask. “We do have people that do live in the community that can’t vote. And since I can vote, I want to make sure everyone’s voices are heard.”
She added, “So many more people are voting this year than the last election. … It’s going to be interesting how the outcome is.”
Walking to his truck with an “I voted” sticker on his chest, 29-year-old Walmart maintenance worker and Rifle resident Miguel Vallejo explained why he decided to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“From hearing on the ads on YouTube, our president, to me, feels like he’s not doing anything with our current little dilemma of the said virus,’” Vallejo said. “Joe Biden knew what he actually was told and he actually gives an answer. Trump? He just says, ‘It’s clean, we’re good,’ but does not give an answer.”
About 1.5 miles to the south, just off the Interstate 70 exit into town, Robin Robinson stood beside a “Recall Polis” booth. She said she so far felt great about most of the Republican candidates’ chances.
“Trump, Republicans – especially local Lauren Boebert – come on!” she exclaimed. “How exciting that that can happen in the United States? It has to be from some town somewhere.”
Robinson, a business owner in Silt, also spoke to why she voted Republican this election.
“I am a capitalist,” she said. “I wish we had more true capitalism that is not manipulated by who’s in power, whether it’s a Republican or Democrat. [I want] a true, free market, which we haven’t had in a while.”
Outside Carbondale Town Hall, which served as one of Garfield County’s three Voter Service and Polling Centers on Tuesday, musicians Natalie Spears and Nick Pinto were playing music for voters as they came and went.
It was part of the national Play for the Vote initiative, started by Boston cellist Mike Block, to provide live music at polling places across the country.
“I signed up and they gave me a time slot here,” Spears said. “It’s a great way to encourage people to come out and vote, and bring a little joy to people.”
Added Pinto, “I love music, and it just seemed like a nice way to have a presence and represent the community here in Carbondale.”
Election officials at the Carbondale polling location said voter traffic was busy in the morning hours, but manageable and without lines.
Carbondale resident Tom Clark said he voted for the presidential ticket of Biden-Harris, and ended up voting a straight Democratic ticket for the first time in a long time.
“I normally would mix things up, depending on the local candidates. But this time it was pretty much straight ticket,” he said. “I just think it’s more reasonable going forward, to have more sane politics.”
Recent new Carbondale resident and business owner Kim King said she voted for the presidential ticket of Trump-Pence, but did vote for some down-ballot Democrats.
“I believe in a lot of his [approach to] business, and I don’t want to be taxed out of my own business,” King said.
A little after 5 p.m. at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, a short line of voters waited for their chance to cast their ballot.
In contrast to reports of tension and businesses boarding up windows nationally, the atmosphere was calm and relaxed.
New Castle resident Vanessa Vega, 26, sees this election as very important.
“I think it was a very critical election if not one of the most critical elections so far. [There are] a lot of livelihoods on the line. I believe Americans should have a decent quality of life, and we’re out here to get that.”
Valerie Hughes of Glenwood Springs said that this election isn’t necessarily more important than previous ones.
“I think they’re all important. I believe that one vote can count. It’s my duty as a citizen who lives here to actually partake in what I agree or don’t agree with.”
New Castle resident Christian Haro, 26, said the election is about change.
“There’s a lot of things at stake, a lot of people that are not happy or content with what’s going on right now, and a lot of people need a change right now. That’s what they’re hoping for, whatever they feel that change is,” he said.
Vega said she hopes the country unites after the election.
“Last year I’ve seen the country become very divided, and I hope that moving forward we can come together and do the best we can as Americans,” she said.
All three agreed that the most important race was for president.
Hughes, who voted for Joe Biden, said she stuck with the Democratic ticket. Vega said she voted for mostly the same party, while Haro voted split ticket.
“I went back and forth on a few. I’m not really affiliated with just one party, and I voted what made sense for me,” Haro said.
Post Independent reporters John Stroud and Ray K. Erku contributed to this report.
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