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Last shall not be first

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Trish Pegram, a city election commissioner, draws lots determining where Durango City Council candidates’ names will appear on mail-in election ballot, handing it to fellow commissioner Paul Stuart. City voters will get ballots in the mail beginning March 16, and they must return them by April 2, the last day of the mail-in election. Amy Phillips, left, city clerk, oversaw the drawing.

By Jim Haug Herald staff writer

Kristen Smith would be last on the ballot for the six City Council candidates if the ballot listed their names in alphabetical order.

To be fair, Colorado law requires a lottery to determine the order of names on a ballot, but Smith’s lot did not change Wednesday as the drawing in City Council Chambers, decorated with red, white and blue bunting, kept her at the bottom of the list.

That the last shall not be first did not seem to phase her in the least.

“That’s OK,” said Smith with a shrug.

The lottery did little to shake up the list as candidate Dean Brookie, who would have been second on the list if alphabetical, moved up to first, switching places with Keith Brant.

Council candidates did not view the drawing as they might a NASCAR qualifying competition, although candidate Jordan Golson, who drew second to bottom, asked for a do-over. Candidates seem to have confidence that voters won’t fill out the ballots like monkeys randomly punching the keys of a typewriter.

“You would hope people would do their homework,” Brant said.

Election officials were not so sure about the quality of due diligence by voters.

“You would think,” County Clerk Tiffany Parker said skeptically.

Golson thought the drawing was more applicable to busier election seasons when multiple races and issues can make a ballot several pages long and exhaust the attention span of voters.

For this municipal election, voters will have to determine only who should serve on the council, deciding between the six candidates to fill three seats. To make it more convenient, registered city voters will get ballots in the mail beginning March 16.

April 2 will be the last day of the mail-in election.

When voters open their envelope, they will see local architect Brookie listed first, former La Plata Electric Association controller Brant second, former school board member Floyd Patterson third, incumbent Councilor Christina Rinderle fourth, technology writer Golson in fifth and artist and Ska Brewery server Smith in sixth.


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