Editorial: You can make a difference in the Moffat County primary
With the Moffat County Primary Election still a little more that three months down the road, it might seem a little premature for us to begin editorializing about it. But, in our view, the importance of the democratic process — particularly at the local level — can hardly be overstated.
The June 26 primary will be a huge election for Moffat County. Not only will it determine our general election candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and Colorado governor, it will also include candidates for most all our county offices, including county commissioner, county clerk and recorder, county coroner, county sheriff, county treasurer, county assessor and county surveyor.
Moreover, only one of these local races — county coroner — has drawn candidates from both major political parties, meaning June’s primary will likely decide this year’s race, at least at the county level.
In short, June will be our only opportunity to cast a vote in most of these important local elections are our only shot at making our voices heard in terms how our county will operate through the next couple of years.
We’ve long known that voter turnout in the United States is not what it should be. In November’s Coordinated Election, for example, 3,607 ballots were cast, according to Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod. This number compares to 9,716 registered voters and 7,515 active voters in the county, yielding a voter turnout of 31 percent, as a percentage of ballots cast to registered voters, and 48 percent, as a percentage of ballots cast to active voters.
According to Herod, these numbers represent pretty typical turnout for an off-year election, meaning only about a third of those eligible to cast votes and about half of those who typically cast votes actually did so in November 2017.
It is our sincere hope that June’s primary will see those numbers improve significantly.
It has become a pervasive belief in our society that voting doesn’t make a difference, that a single vote is inconsequential when considered alongside the millions of other votes accompanying it. And, while we would argue that every vote counts in every election, the potential difference a single vote can make becomes even more apparent when considered at the local level.
In November’s election, Referred Measure 2A, which increased the sales tax rate for the city of Craig, passed 1,199 to 1,111 — a margin of 88 votes. Had 45 people voted in the opposite direction, or, if 89 more voters who were opposed to the increase had cast their ballots, the sales tax measure would have failed.
Another race from last November was even closer — the race for Moffat County School Board’s District 4 director; that one saw Owen Lee Atkin garnering 1,515 votes to Alicia Noland’s 1,495, a razor-thin margin of only 20 votes.
The same math applies. Had only a few more of Noland’s supporters turned out, the makeup of the school board might well be different today.
November’s races are over and done with, but June’s races are still very much in play, and your positions on these races matter, so make those positions known.
Now is the time to learn about the candidates — what they would support and what they would oppose — and begin the process of making informed decisions. We would also encourage voters to check their registrations. Are they complete, correct and up-to-date?
June 26 will be here before we know it, and we hope every voter in Moffat County will participate.
Not only does your vote count, it could end up determining the result of an entire race.
Please, don’t let it go uncast.
In today’s digital age, it isn’t comforting to know Craig hasn’t yet fully joined the rest of the industrialized world’s instant interconnectedness brought about by fast and reliable internet.