2021 Election update: 19,291 ballots have been mailed out in Routt County
Routt County voters will have the option to elect new school board members, city and town council members and choose whether to support three state ballot initiatives in the Nov. 2 election.
Jenny Thomas, Routt County chief deputy clerk, said her office has mailed 19,291 ballots so far, which includes military and overseas ballots. As of Friday, Thomas said the county has received 425 completed ballots.
Thomas said she has seen more county residents seeking public office this year than previously.
Each of Routt County’s three school boards will have competitive races in the November election. Sixteen people have filed for nine total positions across the Steamboat Springs, Hayden and South Routt school districts.
Similarly, each available seat on Steamboat Springs City Council has at least two contenders.
The only candidate to officially withdraw so far was Peter Hunter, who was one of four candidates seeking the at-large seat on City Council, according to Thomas.
In 2020, the U.S. saw record high election turnout, which Pew Research Center attributed to several high-profile federal elections, as well as easier access to by-mail voting due to COVID-19. While 2020 saw such high numbers, Thomas said she was unsure whether Routt County would see a similar pattern in 2021, as none of the county’s three federal representatives are up for reelection, and all races are local.
“This year, it’s kind of hard to predict what’s going to happen, just because last year was such a big year, and it seems like every year, more people participate,” Thomas said.
While turnout in local elections tends to be lower than national elections, Thomas said local elections are just as important, as local policy helps dictate everyday life for community members.
“It’s really important to vote on a local level because you’re helping to vote on issues in your county and your community,” Thomas said. “The more involved people get, the more their voice can be heard.”
Ballots must be turned into a Routt County drop box by 7 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 2. Drop boxes are located inside the town halls in Oak Creek, Yampa and Hayden, along with the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s office and The Clark Store at 54175 Routt County Road 129.
The county also has outdoor drop boxes at the Historic Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat and the Combined Law Enforcement Facility on the city’s west side. Both boxes can be accessed at any time of day and are under security surveillance to ensure integrity of the election process.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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