Just 16 percent of Pitkin County’s active registered voters had returned a ballot for the Nov. 5 election, as of Friday afternoon.
According to County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill, the typical return pattern has one-third of the ballots coming back in the first week of early voting, one-third the week before and the remaining third in the final two days of the election.
If that holds true this year, total turnout when the polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday would be around 3,200 votes, which would be lower than in previous off-year elections.
In 2017, a total of 3,859 people voted in Pitkin County. 2015 saw 5,997 votes, an anomaly likely tied to a contentious city of Aspen question regarding the Base 2 hotel development. In 2013, 4,865 voted.
Off-year election turnout is always lower than years when there are federal and statewide candidate races. Pitkin County turnout broke records in 2018 with 10,013 ballots cast.
The 2019 ballot includes one of the more spirited Aspen school board contests in recent years, with six candidates vying for two open seats. There are also tax questions from the city of Aspen, which wants to keep funds generated in excess of estimates from a tobacco tax; Pitkin County, which wants to implement its own local tobacco tax; and the town of Basalt, which is seeking authorization to adjust its mill levy rate. Aspen Valley Hospital is also asking voters to extend its mill levy for 10 years.
Statewide, Proposition CC would allow the state of Colorado to keep excess TABOR revenues. Proposition DD would tax legalized sports-book gaming to fund water projects.
Voters will also choose new Colorado Mountain College trustees.
If you are looking for a little inspiration to fill out your ballot, head down to the Aspen Police Department’s community meeting room from 4:30 to 6 p.m. today for a get out the vote meeting and town hall with state Sen. Kerry Donovan and state Rep. Julie McCluskie, both of whom represent the Aspen area.
Also, it is too late to mail in ballots. Take your ballot to drop boxes outside the Pitkin County building in Aspen, town hall in Snowmass Village or town hall in Basalt. In-person early voting is also available at the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office in Aspen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, election day.