Voter enthusiasm appears to be lagging this election season, with Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell reporting that as of Nov. 2, only 4,877 voters had returned their ballots for the Nov. 5 General Election, representing only a 35 percent voter response. This is not uncommon during an election year when there are no national or state candidates on the ballot.
Chaffee County has 14,091 active voters. Regardless of which school district in which voters reside (the Salida School District or the Buena Vista School District), the same 35 percent ballot return rate applies across the county.
School District Active voters Returned ballots %
Salida 7,694 2,659 35%
Buena Vista 6,397 2,218 35%
Both school districts have ballot questions: Salida School District voters face the major ballot question of whether or not to approve joining the Colorado Mountain College District Boundary. All school board candidates ran unopposed, meaning voters are making only a confirmation ballot vote.
Buena Vista School District has seven candidates running for four seats: At-Large (two years), At-Large (four years), District C and District A.
It is too late for voters to mail in their ballots. At this point, all ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, to a county office. Voters can drop off ballots at the predetermined county drop-off spots: ballot boxes outside or inside directly in the County Clerk Office at 104 Crestone Ave. in Salida, or at the Chaffee Branch Office located at 112 Linderman Ave. in Buena Vista.
In Colorado, voters can register to vote the day of the general election and vote that same day. Voters must be at least 18-years-old to vote in a general election and must have resided in Colorado for at least 22 days before the election.
To register, voters can go to a county voter registration office or Voter and Service Polling Center at any time, including on Election Day until 7 p.m. For more information about voting in Chaffee County and the state of Colorado, go here.