Unusual ballot question looms for county

What if an election were canceled because it cost too much?

A countywide ballot could be cancelled because none of the three open seats for the School District 51 Board of Directors election is a contested race.

The only other countywide question on the ballot would be whether voters want to loosen term limits for district attorney, sheriff and coroner.

Mesa County commissioners indicated Monday they might pull the term-limit question from the November ballot if there are no other countywide issues.

The commission has until Sept. 4 to take the question off the ballot, said Sheila Reiner, chief deputy clerk for the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

If there are no contested races, the school district can pull itself from the election, saving the district close to $80,000, Reiner said.

If District 51 were to pull out of the election, Mesa County would be left to cover the cost of the election, which could soar beyond $140,000, Reiner said.

If the school district withdraws from the election, “we (commissioners) are going to want to talk about it,” said Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, referring to whether a countywide ballot would be cancelled. “I’m open to reconsideration.”

There are three candidates for three different seats available on the District 51 board of directors. In District E, the incumbent, Ron Rowley, is term limited. As of Monday one person, Rose Pugliese, turned in a signature petition for District E.

In District C, the incumbent, Harry Butler, is running uncontested, as is Leslie Kiesler, sitting board member in District D.

The county clerk’s office would still manage elections for smaller groups of voters: the Mesa Water and Sanitation District, the De Beque and Plateau Valley school districts and for some county residents who would vote in the Delta County school board election.

“If another large entity is not on the ballot with us, we don’t have another entity to share the costs,” Reiner said.

Commissioner Craig Meis said he first raised the question of whether the county should pay to print, mail, sort and count ballots for just one question, that of term limits. Meis declined to comment when asked whether he would favor cancelling a countywide ballot.

Reiner said the clerk’s office will know for sure by Monday — if not earlier — if the school district has any contested races.


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