Low turnout expected for November elections
Despite patriotic displays throughout nation, few expected to turn out for off-year election in Moffat County
October 16, 2001
By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
A patriotic mood is evident across the United States, but one of the major functions of democracy looks to be underutilized again this fall voting. Registration for voting on Nov. 6 closed on Oct. 9, and the numbers don’t show a major change in voting patterns in this area.
The number of registered voters for this November’s election in Craig and Moffat County is down, and recent history shows that these numbers will translate to low voter turn-out. In April’s election, Moffat County faced a severe case of voter apathy with 5,293 voters registered, but only 370 people who actually turned out to vote. For the Nov. 6 elections, 6,094 voters in Craig have registered. For the county, including the Craig voters, 8,884 residents have registered.
All the voters this year will be voting on Amendment 26, which asks if $50 million should be spent on testing and planing a high-speed transit system from Denver International Airport to Vail along the I-70 corridor, and Referendum A, which asks if the Great Outdoors Colorado trust fund debt should be increased by $115 million at the minimum. Residents of Craig will also be voting on Initiatives 200, 201, 202 and 203, which address the elimination of the code officer position and three amendments to the municipal nuisance code.
The number of voters in Moffat County this year is down in part because of the non-active purges.
“Every year, those registered voters who didn’t vote in the last three elections are purged from the system,” Lyla Herod, Moffat County election supervisor, said. “After a general election, there’s always a drop from these purges that’s normal. This year, we’re down a couple of hundred [registered voters].”
The odd-year elections always see low turnouts because the issues aren’t as big a draw, and the voting numbers reflect that, Herod said.
“If it’s the big issues or candidates, that’s when people come out to vote. This ballot isn’t very exciting,” she said. “But this year has a citizen initiative, and I’ve never seen that before. That could make a difference, but I don’t know [if it will have an impact].”
Shirley Seely, the Craig City Clerk, is also unsure whether the citizen initiative will boost interest in this fall’s voting.
“We can’t gauge if this initiative will be a big concern or not in our survey, residents said they wanted the city cleaned up, and they wanted it enforced,” Seely said. “One man got enough signatures to put it on, but I can’t really gauge what support he has.”
Craig Mayor Dave DeRose also wasn’t sure if the number of voters would show improvement over the last few elections.
“I always hope for a good turnout, but I don’t know how things might go this year.”