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Eight candidates step up for Carbondale trustee election

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By John Colson

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

A total of eight candidates have submitted petitions to run for three open seats on Carbondale’s Board of Trustees this spring, according to Town Clerk Cathy Derby.

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Those eight, in alphabetical order, are Ben Bohmfalk, Michael Durant, Allyn Harvey (incumbent), Wayne Horak, John “Doc” Philip, Dan Richardson, Marty Silverstein and Patricia Warman.

The election is scheduled for April 5, and it is to be a mail-in ballot, meaning there will be no polling places set in precincts around town as historically was the case on election day.

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Instead, Derby will send out ballots to local qualified voters in mid-March, and those ballots must be back at Town Hall by the end of business on election day, at 7 p.m., in order to be counted.

In addition, Derby confirmed there will be a voting booth set up at Carbondale Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave., on election day for voters who have not mailed in their ballots for whatever reason.

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Derby also noted that she will have a ballot box in her office starting on the day she sends out the ballots, as required by state law, for voters who wish to bring in their ballots in person.

Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico will be leasing the county’s vote-counting machine to the town on election day to facilitate the process, Derby said, which will permit Derby to forego starting the ballot count up to 15 days prior to April 5, as is allowed under state law.

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Starting the count early might have been necessary in order to calculate the election results early enough that evening to get them out to the voters and to area news outlets as quickly as possible, Derby remarked.

But, she said, “Using the machine is so much quicker” and makes early counting unnecessary.

The municipal election will feature three trustee seats up for election — Trustees Pam Zentmyer and John Hoffmann are stepping down due to term limits, while Harvey still has a term to go before stepping down and is running for reelection.

In addition, the town has placed two questions on the ballot, asking voters to approve a new property tax to pay for capital improvements as well as a tax, or fee, on residential and commercial utility bills to pay for programs intended to increase energy-efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in homes and businesses around Carbondale.

Derby noted that first-time voters can register to vote any time up to and including election day.

But, she continued, Colorado’s election laws state that in order to receive a mailed ballot for the April 5 municipal election, one must be a resident of the town and the state for at least 22 days prior to the election day.

And to register and vote on election day itself, she wrote, a voter must be able to prove he or she has been a resident for the requisite 22-day period.

Published in The Sopris Sun on January 28, 2016.

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