Glenwood city ballots trickle in |

Glenwood city ballots trickle in

Ballots for next week’s Glenwood Springs municipal election have been fairly slow to come in so far, meaning voters still have plenty of time to influence races for two City Council seats and a ballot question regarding a possible city land trade.

As of Tuesday, about 855 ballots had been completed and returned to the City Clerk’s Office, out of more than 4,900 ballots mailed or otherwise distributed to city voters starting March 16.

From that initial batch of mail ballots, 349 have been returned as undeliverable by the post office due to incorrect addresses or people having moved out of the city since the last election, City Clerk Catherine Mythen said.

That still means less than 19 percent of current eligible voters have cast their ballots with a week to go before the April 7 election, leaving the two contested council seats and ballot question anything but decided.

Turnout for the last municipal election in April 2013, in which there was just one contested council race, was a relatively low 34 percent.

But with two contested seats and some pretty weighty issues looming before the city this year, turnout was expected to be significantly higher.

Citywide, voters are deciding the three-way race for the open At-Large City Council seat between Tony Hershey, Kathryn Trauger and Kathy Williams.

Approximately 1,045 voters in Ward 1 are also deciding between Russ Arensman and Steve Davis as their neighborhood representative on council. As of the end of the day Tuesday, fewer than 180 ballots had been cast in the Ward 1 race, Mythen said.

Voters in Wards 3 and 4 will also see the names of uncontested incumbent council members Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba, respectively, on their ballot.

And, voters citywide will also decide if the city should be authorized to “sell or otherwise convey” a section of the city-owned land between the Roaring Fork River and the River Trail at 23rd Street.

The city and adjacent landowners are weighing a possible land swap to facilitate future improvements at the intersection of South Grand Avenue/Highway 82 (see related story).

Meanwhile, voters are also being advised to make sure the voter affidavit on the back of the ballot envelope is completed and signed when they mail or drop off their ballots.

Mythen explained that Colorado Municipal Election law has changed since the 2013 election, and additional information is now required. Before, voters only needed to sign and date the back of the ballot envelop. Now, they must print their name and include their residential address, then sign and date it, she said.

“Some people are not reading that information and are skipping a step,” Mythen said, adding that a handful of ballots have been set aside and are awaiting signatures or other affidavit information before they can be officially counted.

“If a ballot is signed and all the information is there, it will be counted. If not, we can’t count it until we get that information,” she said.

Anyone dropping off a ballot in person at the City Clerk’s Office is being reminded to complete the back of the envelope. Clerk’s officials will also attempt to contact any voters who return a ballot without the completed and signed affidavit prior to the election, Mythen said.

There is also a seven-day grace period following the election for anyone to complete the affidavit so that their ballot can be added to the official count, she said. In the event of a close race, that could potentially delay the outcome.

Within a week of Election Day, voters are also advised to return their ballots in person rather than by mail, at the City Clerk’s Office, 101 W. Eighth St., Suite 325, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or on Election Day, Tuesday, April 7, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

City ballots are also being accepted at the drop box inside the east entrance of the Garfield County Courthouse.

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