Elections, caucuses and making your vote count


By Terri Lynn Oldham House
In case you didn’t notice, this was an election week.
There was nowhere you could hide from the onslaught of political campaigning, advertising and endless news coverage.
It’s only the beginning of things to come this year.
We hope you exercised your right to vote, no matter how anticlimactic Tuesday’s presidential primary was. There weren’t many options on the Republican ballot, and for those voting on the Democrat side, so many candidates dropped out after the ballots were printed that some people found out their votes didn’t count.
We encourage readers to turn your focus to local elections. Caucuses are coming up this weekend.
Archuleta County Democratic Party caucuses
The SUN reported on last week’s front page that the Archuleta County Democratic Party will hold its caucuses at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7.
Precincts 1-3 and 5-8 will caucus at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave. Precinct 4 will caucus at the TARA Community Center, 333 Milton Lane in Arboles. Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. and the caucuses start promptly at 2 p.m.
If you plan to attend your caucus, you should ascertain what election precinct you live in. You can find out by going to govotecolorado.com and click on Find My Registration. Enter the requested information on name and birthdate and click on Search. Finally, click on the County and District Information tabs to find your precinct.
Everyone is welcome to go to the caucuses, but only those who meet certain criteria will be allowed to vote. If you live in Archuleta County and were registered as a Democrat on or before Feb. 14, you are eligible. Anyone who turns 18 or became a naturalized citizen after Feb. 14 may participate, if they are a registered member of the Democratic party. Note that if you are registered as unaffiliated, you are not eligible to vote in the caucuses, but you will be able to vote in the June general primary election.
The caucuses serve several purposes: to discuss candidates and issues in an open forum, helping them to make informed choices.
The main intent of the caucuses is, however, to help determine which candidates for the U.S. Senate will appear on the Democratic primary ballot. A preference vote determines how many delegates each candidate will receive.
Those delegates will then be asked to go to the county assembly and convention, where the delegate pool is further whittled down into a group who will attend the state assembly and convention on April 18 in Denver.
Other goals for the caucuses include introducing party candidates for local offices; the selection of precinct chairpersons, election judges and poll watchers; and discussions about ideas to be included in the party’s platform. Although the only preference vote will be for U.S. Senate, information about candidates for other offices will be available. In addition, the party has invited the candidates or their representatives to attend the caucuses and speak on their own behalf.
Archuleta County Republican Party caucuses
The Archuleta County Republicans will also caucus on Saturday, March 7, at 10 a.m. Check out the story on this week’s front page for more details on that caucus.
It is important to note that Republicans have a county commissioner race happening; at the county assembly. Delegates get to vote on the candidate of their choice, and candidates must get at least 30 percent of the vote to be placed on the primary ballot or 10 percent of the vote to be able to petition on.
Town election
Speaking of local elections, in this week’s paper we bring you the Pagosa Springs Town Council Election Tracker to introduce you to five candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring to fill three open council seats.
We encourage town residents to keep informed and vote for the candidates who best fit your vision.
Don’t forget that there is power in numbers. When you vote and encourage others to vote, you can make a difference. Your voice, with many others, in unison, will affect the direction of this community when you return your ballot.
Your vote can protect the financial stability of your community.
Registered electors of the Town of Pagosa Springs will begin receiving ballots for the April 7 election after March 16. Don’t procrastinate.
Make your vote count.
Terri Lynn Oldham House