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Starting from the bottom

Unless you’ve had the luxury of hibernating up in the mountains camping somewhere, you certainly can’t have avoided all the election hyperbola. Are we over it? Well, not yet, but we’re close.

If you think there are any problems voting here at home, I want to give a shout out to our County Clerk Tiffany Parker. She’s built a solid, secure procedure for distributing and tabulating votes.

The La Plata County Clerks office is incredibly efficient. Voting tabulation – and how they do it with minimal staff and a devoted team of bipartisan election judges – is amazing. It takes a long time (so I can only imagine the time it takes for big entities to handle it), but they are conscientious and thorough.

Ballots that come in with the bubbles not filled well or in which people just drew lines through things get examined. These dedicated election judges have all kinds of stories of how ballots come in. And they make sure that those oddly marked ballots can be deciphered and are counted. But seriously, folks, I had coloring books when I was young, and I learned how to color within the lines.

That said, it’s now time to prepare to vote. If you haven’t registered, make sure you do. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice. You still have an opportunity to register through the county or here.

Once you’re registered, please educate yourself. The reason I entitled this column “Starting from the bottom” is that all politics begin at home, and, of course, the bottom of the ballot is all our local and state initiatives and regional representative elections.

We have four County Commissioner candidates running for two available seats. Understand their philosophies, their ideas for where they see us going in the future. Charly Minkler, Marsha Porter-Norton, Matt Salka and Jack Turner all have websites that explain their perspectives about our county moving forward. Educate yourself.

Also, starting at the bottom of the ballot, you’re going to see 11 ballot initiatives. I don’t normally get into politics, but one I’d like to draw your attention to is changing the Electoral College established in the Constitution. I know, I know ... I’ve heard the arguments, but if we don’t have the Electoral College, then all our national representatives will be elected by the most populated areas – East Coast and West Coast. Personally, I’d like to still have a voice in our national elections.

On a more local note, you will need to vote on a Durango School District bond. I know, I know ... more money for school facilities (especially when the kids are doing a lot of home schooling, and there was a major rebuild a while back). Well this initiative is an extension of the existing bond ... It’s not a new tax. The kids are going to go back to their brick and mortar buildings, and we need to maintain the infrastructure.

The “Blue Book,” which has all the information about candidates and ballot issues, is scheduled for distribution around Sept. 21. And your ballots will come in the mail (as said, Tiffany Parker has established a stellar organization for this), and you don’t need to mail them back as there are secure drop boxes throughout the county.

But remember, start at the bottom. All politics are local.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.