In the final hours before Election Day, some La Plata County campaigns are sprinting to turn out the vote and others are counting on a culmination of their efforts to pay off.
La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Parker said 25% of active county voters, or about 9,654 residents, had turned in their ballots as of Monday morning. During the last comparable election in 2017, 28% of active voters participated, she said.
The 2018 midterm election, a far more high-profile event, generated a 63% voter turnout among active and inactive voters, she said. An inactive voter has not updated his or her address with the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
Parker said she expected Tuesday’s turnout to beat 2017 participation levels because of a higher number of property tax questions and school board races across the county.
“That will draw more people out,” she said.
Some candidates and issue proponents worked Monday to boost turnout by flying signs and working the phones in a final attempt to draw votes.
Pine River Library Director Shelley Walchak said the campaign to increase property taxes for the library has focused on one-on-one education this year after a tax increase failed to pass last year by a razor-thin margin of 50.1% to 49.9%.
The campaign also put the word out on social media and distributed flyers, yard signs and business card-sized materials. Campaign volunteers also planned to call voters who had yet to cast ballots Monday night and Tuesday, Walchak said.
“I feel reservedly confident,” she said. “I say that only because we didn’t get any push back.”
Durango School District 9-R board candidate Kristin Smith was also campaigning Monday, waving signs at cars along Main Avenue, and planned to return Tuesday morning. In the months leading up to election, Smith knocked on doors, streamed live videos on Facebook and addressed parent-teacher groups, she said.
“I feel like I have done everything I can do let people to know who am and what I’m going to do,” she said.
Smith’s opponent, incumbent Stephanie Moran, said she has been busy with her duties for the 9-R board and was not planning a last-minute push to reach voters. But she expected voters who were happy with the district’s performance to support her, she said.
“You know what you are going to get if you vote for me,” she said.
Campaigns for the new library district in southwest La Plata County and a tax increase for the Animas Mosquito Control District have wound down, organizers said.
The campaign to form and fund the Southwest La Plata Library District focused mainly on face-to-face interactions at events and social media outreach, said Cynthia Loebig, a district advocate. The district would support the libraries at Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside elementary schools.
Library advocate Rebecca Benally said she helped voters better understand the proposed district.
“What people haven’t comprehended is if this fails the libraries go away. ... I think that was surprising to some people,” she said.
The Animas Mosquito Control District’s campaign was limited by rules that prevented it from spending money, said Melody Schaaf, office manager and lab technician. However, the district did educate voters through news coverage and a League of Women Voters’ event, she said.
“I think we feel like we got the word out there pretty well,” she said.