Last day for city ballots

Today marks the end of one of the most important municipal elections in recent memory.

When the ballots are counted tonight, Grand Junction voters will have chosen people to fill four City Council seats, elections that could significantly change the ideological outlook of the council. Voters will also decide the zoning for Brady Trucking’s property along the Colorado River and whether to provide continuing funding for road projects through a TABOR Amendment override.

However, despite the election’s importance and impassioned views of many people, voter turnout hasn’t kept up.

As of Monday, only 9,560 mail ballots had been returned to the city, out of just under 30,000 active voters in Grand Junction, according to the Mesa County Clerk’s office,  which has been keeping a tally of ballots for the city.

It would be a shame if such an important election were determined by fewer than a third of the active voters.

If you’re a city voter who hasn’t mailed your ballot, you cannot drop it in the mail and have it arrive prior to tonight’s 7 p.m. deadline. But it’s not too late to have your ballot counted. You can drop it off in person at either Grand Junction City Hall on Rood Avenue or the Mesa County Central Services Building, at 200 S. Spruce St. Both will accept ballots until 7 p.m.

Turnout for city elections fluctuates depending on the year. For instance, in the relatively quiet election of 2009, slightly more than 8,500 votes were counted, said Mesa County Elections Director Cathrine Lenhart. But in the 2011 election, when a question about allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the city was on the ballot, more than 13,000 ballots were cast.

The issues and council decisions in today’s election are equally important. We hope procrastinating city voters will think so, as well, and turn in their ballots today.


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