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What you need to know heading into Tuesday’s election

Candidates make final push, drop-off boxes are awaiting, voter turnout hits 24%
Voters in La Plata County will decide school board elections, a statewide amendment and two propositions. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

It’s that season again. No, not fall, but election season.

As voters prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday, here’s what you need to know about the election in La Plata County:

Candidates sprint to the finish

School board candidates said they are finishing their campaigns with one final push.

Durango school board candidate Erika Brown, for District A, said she is reaching out to people who have yet to vote to try to increase voter turnout. District C candidate Richard Petersen said he is working with campaign volunteers to canvas and phone-bank. Their opponents did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment.

Bayfield School Board candidate Matt Turner dropped off pumpkins to the Bayfield Primary and Intermediate schools with stickers that read “Donated By: Matt Turner & Family,” an effort he said was months in the making to support the primary school’s pumpkin patch and the intermediate school’s fall festival.

Statewide amendments

In addition to La Plata County school board candidates, voters will decide on one amendment and two propositions.

Amendment 78 concerns the Colorado State Legislature’s authority to allocate money for spending. It would require the state Legislature to allocate all state spending, rather than allowing state agencies some discretion. It would also create a new fund for custodial money, which is “provided to the state for a particular purpose,” and require that money to be deposited and spent from the new fund.

Proposition 119 would establish a new state learning enrichment program. It would increase retail marijuana taxes by 5% and transfer money from existing state funds to create the program, which would provide out-of-school instruction and enrichment for Colorado children between the ages of 5 and 17. The program would include funding for financial aid for tutoring.

Proposition 120 would lower the property tax assessment rates for multifamily housing and lodging properties. It would not affect assessment rates for other types of residential and nonresidential property. The residential property tax assessment rate would decrease from 7.15% to 6.5% and reduce the rate for all other property from 29% to 26.4%. It would decrease 2023 property tax revenue by an estimated $1.03 billion.

Where to vote

Though all registered voters in La Plata County received mail-in ballots, it’s too late to return them through mail.

Voters can return ballot at these 24-hour drop-box locations up until 7 p.m. Tuesday:

  • La Plata County Clerk and Recorder, 679 Turner Drive, Suite C.
  • La Plata County Administration Building, 1101 East Second Ave.
  • La Plata County Fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave.
  • Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.
  • Bayfield Town Hall, 1199 Bayfield Parkway.
  • Ignacio Farmers Fresh Market, 535 Goddard Ave.

Voters can visit the Clerk and Recorder’s Office from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday to vote in-person, request a replacement ballot, change an address or register to vote. There are no registration deadlines in Colorado as long as a voter has been a resident of the state for 22 days, according to La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Lee.

Bayfield Town Hall is open for in-person voting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. FLC’s voting location is also open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.

All three voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Election Day.

Voter turnout so far

Lee said 24% of eligible voters have cast a ballot for the election so far. Historically, voter turnout during off-year elections is somewhere between 35% and 40%, Lee said.

On election night, first results will come in around 7:30 p.m. and final results around 9:30 p.m., Lee said.

As part of the county’s voting transparency efforts, Lee has been offering tours of the voting process. However, only one person has requested a tour so far. Those wanting to visit can do so Monday or Tuesday while election judges are working and voting machines are running.

Those interested in a tour can set up an appointment with Lee by calling the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 382-6296 or visiting www.laplatacountyclerk.org.

ahannon@durangoherald.com

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