Polls open today for general election

The November 2009 general election will be today, with vote centers in Craig, Maybell and Dinosaur.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Craig at Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way; in Maybell at the Maybell Community Center, 103 Ellis St.; and in Dinosaur at the county library, 400 W. School St.

The ballot has four items on it: three Moffat County School Board seats are up for election, and the city posted a ballot question asking voters if they want to repeal a city charter provision on campaign spending limits.

Only one of the School Board seats is contested.

Christine Balderston is running for the District 6 seat, and voters have the option of voting for a write-in candidate of their choice.

No one has openly campaigned against Balderston.

Karen Stillion and Sandra Johns, running for district 2 and 4 seats, respectively, are unopposed.

The city's ballot question refers to a charter provision that limits candidates for municipal office from spending more than $500 of their own money on their campaigns.

The provision came under fire earlier this year after the Craig City Council cited resident Francisco Reina with a Class A municipal violation for spending more than allowed on his campaign for City Council in April.

The city dismissed its citation after Reina's defense team, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a counter-suit in Moffat County District Court claiming the city's spending limit violated the right to free speech.

The city settled out of court in July and agreed to pay $2,243.50 to cover Reina's legal fees, as well as permanently void its campaign spending limit, unless the Supreme Court ever rules such a limit is constitutional.

Although the charter provision essentially is dead for the time being, only a vote by residents can change the charter.

Whether residents elect to keep or dismiss the spending limit, it will not apply to future municipal elections.

However, some officials have speculated local voters could make an interesting statement if they choose to keep the provision, despite it being ruled unconstitutional in a previous Supreme Court case.

City Attorney Kenny Wohl said the vote allows the community to take a stand on an important national issue, and the result may cause people at even the highest levels to take notice.

Several city councilors have publicly endorsed the spending limit on the basis that it would keep money from playing a large part in local politics.

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