Voting in the primary is important

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Democracy was delivered in mailboxes throughout the county this past week. 

By now, every active voter who is registered in Archuleta County should have received a ballot for the June 28 primary election, which will help determine who will appear in November’s general election.

There are big decisions that need to be made here in Archuleta County. 

The county has nearly outgrown our landfill. Why this matter is just now coming to the forefront is beyond us. Leadership should have addressed this long before the landfill came this close to reaching the end of its life.

County leadership keeps kicking the can down the road when it comes to short-term rental regulations. This complex issue keeps coming up over and over. It is time for elected leaders to make those decisions on behalf of their constituents.

Roads have been a huge issue for years and years. It’s one problem it seems will never be solved. We’ve watched the balance in the county’s road and bridge fund grow over the years and wonder why this money hasn’t been spent on improvements. 

Perhaps one of the biggest issues the county is facing is the potential dissolution of San Juan Basin Public Health, which will require the county to establish its own health district. 

We need to elect competent, capable leadership to decide the direction the county will take in these and many other important matters. Your vote is imperative in selecting the candidate you think can do the best job in addressing these issues on behalf of the citizens. The time is now to make your voice heard.

It is definitely shaping up to be an interesting year for political races in Archuleta County. Over the years, elections in the county have typically been decided in the primaries. 

Currently, the only certified local candidates with competition in the primary election are Republicans. 

Two candidates appear for Archuleta County commissioner for District 3: Alvin Schaaf and Veronica Medina.

Two candidates appear for Archuleta County sheriff: Mike Le Roux and Boyd Neagle.

With not one single Democrat running for local office, the June primary elections are extremely important.  

However, this year, the candidates who advance to the general election in November are not guaranteed that they will be elected. 

Five local unaffiliated candidates have filed with the state, but as of Tuesday, no one has turned in their petition with signatures to be validated. Those petitions are due on July 14.

The winner of the Republican primary for sheriff has the potential of facing three more unaffiliated candidates in November. The winner of the commissioner race could face at least one other candidate. 

To be counted, ballots must be returned no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, June 28. Postmarks do not count.

The following information is from the Archuleta County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Voter Service and Polling Center information

Beginning June 20, the Archuleta County Election’s Office, located at 449 San Juan St. (in the back of the courthouse), will serve as the Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC).

The hours for the VSPC will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 20 through June 27.

On June 25, it will be open from 8 a.m. to noon. 

On June 28, it will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

How to return ballots

Voted ballots may be returned to the VSPC or taken to one of the county’s ballot drop boxes.

Those drop boxes are located at the courthouse at 449 San Juan St. (outside on the sidewalk near the flagpoles) and at the TARA Community Center at 333 Milton Lane in Arboles.

According to the county’s election notice, the drop boxes will have 24/7 video surveillance from June 20 through 7 p.m. on June 28.

What if I didn’t receive
a ballot or need a
replacement?

Eligible residents can register to vote up to and including Election Day either online or at the Archuleta County Election’s Office/VSPC.

June 20 is the last day for an individual to submit a voter registration application and still receive a ballot in the mail for the June 28 primary, according to the state.

Replacement ballots are available at the VSPC.

More information on eligibility and registering to vote can be found at http://www.archuletacounty.org/192/Elections or www.GoVoteColorado.gov.

Those with questions should call the Archuleta County Election’s Office at (970) 264-8331.

What’s on the ballot?

Registered Republicans and Democrats will each receive a primary ballot specific to their party.

If a voter has not declared a party preference, they will receive two ballots in their mail-ballot packet. They must only return one ballot in order for their vote to count.

How to track your ballot

Voters will be able to track their primary election ballot using BallotTrax, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

BallotTrax is a program that was implemented statewide in 2020 that allows voters to track their ballot, including when it is sent, received and counted.

According to a press release from the office, “BallotTrax enables voters to receive notifications by phone, email, or text about the status of their mail ballot, from the time it is mailed to the voter, to when it is received, and counted. In 2020, over 1.6 million voters used BallotTrax to follow their ballots. This year, nearly 2 million active voters are enrolled in the program.”

According to the press release, messages about the status of voter ballots will begin after ballots are mailed out by counties.

Colorado voters can enroll themselves in BallotTrax by going to www.GoVoteColorado.gov and clicking on “Sign up for BallotTrax.”

Voting in the primary election directly affects our county, state and country. 

Your vote will make an impact because we believe this year’s primary elections could be pretty close. 

Every vote counts.

Terri Lynn Oldham House