Craig to vote by mail in April

Council hopes mail-in ballots boost turnout

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By the numbers:

Turnout from past Craig municipal elections:1993*

— 4,561 registered voters

— 2,182 voted, or 47.8 percent

1995*

— 5,288 registered voters

— 2,266 voted, or 42.8 percent

2005

— 5,334 registered voters

— 547 voted, or 10.2 percent

2007

— 5,134 registered voters

— 671 voted, or 13 percent

2009

— 5,635 registered voters

— 640 voted, or 11.3 percent

*Mail-in ballots

Craig municipal election calendar:

• March 4 — Last day candidate nomination petitions may be circulated and signed prior to the election

• March 7 — Last day a person can register to vote in the municipal election

• March 14 — Ballots are mailed to registered and active city voters

• April 5 — Election Day

— To activate, register or update your voter status, visit govotecolorado.com or stop by the Moffat County Elections department inside of the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

Craig City Council member Joe Herod said residents don’t often think they have a voice in government.

But, “They do,” Herod said.

The city council recently took action Herod thinks could help residents understand the role they play in city government by increasing the chances voters will participate in municipal elections.

At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Craig City Council approved, 5-0, to host an all mail-in ballot in April’s municipal election. The vote is a change from previous years in which residents would vote at one polling place located inside Centennial Mall.

“As city officials, we should be proactive in bringing the public out to vote,” Herod said. “Now, we can’t make everybody vote. But, I just think this mail-in ballot thing, even if it costs us a little bit more in the long run … we are in way better shape. It gives the public a chance.”

City Clerk Shirley Seely discussed the idea with city council Tuesday.

“It really is a convenient way for people to vote,” she said. “I think we will get more participation that way (and) we’ll have more of our citizens directing our city.”

Seely also noted the council hasn’t had an all mail ballot election since 1995 and many other counties and cities in the state are moving to mail-in ballots.

The city used mail-in ballots in both the 1993 and 1995 elections and had voter turnout above 40 percent.

In 2009’s city election, 640 people, or 11.3 percent of residents voted.

In 1995’s mail-in ballot election, however, 2,266 residents, or 42.8 percent, voted.

Seely said she was unsure how much more the mail-in ballots would cost the city.

“I would say what we had budgeted, the $7,500 originally, would really pretty well cover it,” she said.

Lila Herod, Moffat County Clerk and Recorder, addressed the council Tuesday.

Lila said she expected mail-in ballots would cost the city more considering the amount of postage needed. But, mail-in ballots are becoming a more popular way to vote, Lila said.

“We are really seeing, even statewide, about 60 percent of the voters are moving themselves to the permanent mail ballot,” she said.

In Moffat County, about 2,000 people have signed up to receive permanent mail ballots, 1,500 of which are city residents, she said.

“That is significantly more voters than you have had turn out in any (recent) city election,” Lila said.

There are currently 3,077 active and 5,908 total registered voters in the city.

Stephanie Beckett, Moffat County elections supervisor, said the county will assist with mailing out the city’s 3,077 ballots on March 14.

Beckett said the city is only required to mail out ballots to active voters and noted if a resident did not vote in the 2010 November election, they could be considered inactive.

Inactive voters are still eligible to vote, but they must activate their status to receive a mail-in ballot before April 5, Beckett said.

Residents must be registered to vote in the city election by March 7.

To activate, register or update voter status, visit govotecolorado.com or stop by the Moffat County Elections Department inside of the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

Council member Jennifer Riley is optimistic the new format will provide a boost to previous years’ voting totals, which she said were a “fraction” of the city’s total registered voters.

“I think if you get a ballot in the mail you are more likely to look at it, vote it and mail it back than you are to actually go out and remember to do it on a certain day,” she said.

Joe thinks the new system of voting could bring on deeper changes, particularly with those who get elected to the council.

“It’s always been the good old boys that get elected basically,” he said. “And maybe it is time for a little change.”

Three council seats currently held by Ray Beck, Joe Herod and Byron Willems are up for grabs in the election in addition to the mayor’s position.

So far, Beck, Willems, Joe Bird, Bill Johnston, Don Jones, Stephen Hinkemeyer and Tony Bohrer have picked up council packets. Council member Terry Carwile and resident Frank Moe have picked up packets to run for mayor.

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Comments

hummers 3 years, 9 months ago

Great I Love mail in ballots. It gives me time to study and make an informed decission. I usually take my mail in ballot back to them at the court house. Just to be sure it is in on time.

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wellwell 3 years, 9 months ago

Getting the voters out to vote would seem to be a problem by the declining statistics. With all the concern, rumors and backbiting you would think that those same people would be getting out to vote. You would think that the people would have voted other city councilers or county commissioners into office if they thought things were so bad! Now you don't have to leave home to vote. Do not complain if you do not vote. This is America!! Vote, Vote, Vote!

Going to the mall gave me the great feeling of patriotism and being with other patriots that are using that privledge,responsiblity and freedom to vote.

Knowing the issues and candidates are still the the main responsiblity of the voter. Please research the issues and the candidates and feel that freedom and privledge fulfilling your responsibility to vote.

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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact: Joe Herod admits to being a Good Ol Boy!!!

Fact: Jenny must be a Good Ol Girl according to Herod's definition??

Fact: A Good Ol Boy is defined as a white male Southerner conservative or with an intolerant attitude and a strong sense of fellowship with and loyality to other members of his peer group. ( Byron W., Billy J. Terry the D, Ray B, Gene B.????)

Fact: Good ol Girl: She fixes her hair every morning, long before 7 o 'clock . She'll tell you with her hair piled high that she feels closer to god, and she fires up the old chevy, gets to the truckers in time, serves up the biskets and gravy, AND WISE CRACKEN BY NINE. She's a good ol girl, she won't let you down. ( Jenny and Audrey D. ?)

Fact: Per Herod, vote only for those that live north of Victory Way, and west of Mack lane.

Queston: Just how much more is this mail ballot going to cost vs. going to City Hall to vote, so that we can make sure that the Good Ol Boys don't get elected????

Just The good ol Facts.

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taxslave 3 years, 9 months ago

Mail in vote, hum, how convenient. Who's countin' them babies?.....eh?

If you folks don't get it by now I'll let you in on a little secret....the votes are rigged! Voter fraud runs rampant across this nation. Wake up sheep, your very lives right now are in the balance and these lying snakes called representatives will continue to lie to you, to your face, until they kill you.

All cities and counties and states are out of money, broke, bankrupt, nada.....get it. They give all our money to interest on money they borrowed, just like our federal gov. Our tax money doesn't even cover the interest. The borrower, you and me, are servent to the lender, "corrupt banks".

We are in such serious trouble and these clowns aren't warning you. They don't care, they've got their ticket to the ark, yes ark, that's what they call them....down in the tubes, yes I know about them.. They are nothing but used car salesmen, all of them.

The Lord rebuke those who call good evil and evil good.

I told you 5 dollar gas would be here in about two weeks and I stand on that. Before the end of the year it will be 10 bucks a gallon.....if you can find some.

Get ready folks, your life is about to change.....and those in charge know it. The governors are lying devils and so is that representative you recently had in town.

Why do we continue to pay clowns that don't represent us? It's time to come out and confront these evil men and women. They're not gods.....they just think and act like they are.

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