Ballots Arrive: It’s Vote Time in Leadville Today
Lake County Early Voting Begins
Last week Lake County registered voters received their 2020 Election ballots in the mail. And today, October 19 Early Voting begins for those who choose to cast their ballot in person. Since its Pioneer Days, Leadville has maintained a strong civic pride of having their voices heard, whether it was casting a ballot for Horace Tabor during his run for US Senator or for the first woman to run for Mayor of Leadville, most understand the difference one simple vote can make in small communities.
This year, the Coronavirus has re-arranged lives and traditions in Leadville Today (LT). That holds true for politics as well. The usual campaigning efforts have been scaled back or evaporated altogether. However, it’s still important to Meet The Candidates, especially those close to home. While there are no local ballot issues for the 2020 Election, two of the three Lake County Commissioners’ seats are open, so every vote will count.
To that end, welcome to LT’s 2020 Political Round-up report. The following post contains local voting information from how, to when to where. Not much has changed and there has been no reported swell in voter registration, therefore things are anticipated to run smoothly for the Lake County Election Judges with early voting starting Monday, October 19. Thanks for your service!
In addition, readers can learn about all four candidates running for Lake County Commissioner. These brief introductions include links to online resources and platforms where voters can get more information about a specific issue or engage further with the candidate.
Check out the videos, read up on the candidates, and GO VOTE! Then stay tuned to Leadville Today for Election 2020 results.
Cast Away in America’s Highest City
641,271. That’s the number of ballots that have already been returned by Coloradoans according to a report issued by Secretary of State Jena Griswold on October 19 the first day of early (in-person) voting in Leadville Today (LT).
“Voting in Colorado is safe, secure, and accessible, and it’s time for Coloradans to make their voices heard,” said Secretary Griswold. And for Lake Leadville and Lake County voters, that means you!
To limit the spread of COVID-19, Sec. Griswold is encouraging Coloradans to return their voted ballot by dropbox or mail. Voted ballots must be received by county election officials by 7 p.m. on November 3. After October 26, voters are encouraged to return their ballot by dropbox rather than by mail to ensure their ballot is received before the deadline.
Voters may find two drop boxes at the Lake County Courthouse at 500 Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville. One is at the Voting Center inside the courthouse lobby, available during regular voting hours/days. A second ballot drop box is available 24/7 via the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, via the 5th Street entrance, ring the buzzer. The ballot box is just inside the door under, in an area under the view of Lake County Dispatch Center.
Early Voting Happening Now!
Early ballot casting is underway starting today, October 19 thru Monday, Nov. 2 and will take place in the Lake County Courthouse at 500 Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville. For those who prefer to vote in-person, the Secretary of State has issued election rules and guidance to help ensure voting in-person is as safe as possible, including PPE for poll workers and social distancing requirements.
Here is the EARLY VOTING schedule for in-person voting.
- October 19 – 23 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- October 26 – 30 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Election Day Voting
The 2020 Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., in the Lake County Courthouse. Please note for those who prefer to vote in-person, Secretary of State Jena Griswold has issued election rules and guidance to help ensure voting in-person is as safe as possible, including PPE for poll workers and social distancing requirements. And don’t forget those picture IDs!
And finally, it’s not too late to register to vote. To be mailed a ballot, please register by October 26. After that, eligible Coloradans can register and vote in-person through 7 p.m. on Election Day. To register to vote, check your registration, or for election information, please visit www.GoVoteColorado.gov.
In This Corner: Meet The Candidates
The Lake County Board of Commissioners has two of its three seats up for bid this November. Although most local races don’t come with too many surprise outcomes, every once in a while they do. Who remembers the Jack-Be-Nimble newcomer who took down an established incumbent when some skeletons came stumbling out onto historic Harrison Avenue weeks before the election, creating a true upset in the late 80s?! And what about the first woman to run for mayor of Leadville, re-defining a bad-week-in-November by losing an election, getting fired from her job, and finally thrown out onto the streets by her challenger-landlord all in the span of a few days.
Politics in America’s highest city can be tough. So what about Election 2020? With no local issues on the ballot for Leadville and Lake County, it’s time to get to know this year’s elected contenders.
Lake County is divided into three districts, Election 2020 will decide the future representation for Districts Two and Three. Of course, with all three voices weighing equal in a vote on the BOCC, these districts are formed so that county commissioners can meet periodically to discuss issues of common concern pertinent to residents living in that region.
However, looking ahead, these districts are forecast to become more relevant as Lake County experiences its next Boom Cycle. More complicated issues and responsiveness to constituents are likely to create more of a Zone Defense for Commissioners. Remember, in the end, this trio manages only about 25% of Lake County lands, the other 75% remains under the stewardship of one of three federal agencies (BOR, BLM, USFS). The next four years will require local leaders – no matter their zone – to be present at some of these nationally-driven conversations.
District Two: Lujan vs. Mudge
District Two on the Board of County Commissioners represents a significant area of land. Perhaps the best way to visualize the region is to simply look east. From the top of Fremont Pass on the north to the edge of Granite to the south, with highways 91 and 24 to the west and the Mosquito Mountain Range to the east carving out this seat at the courthouse. District Two includes Mt. Massive Lakes Estates, Beaver Lakes Estates, the airport, the landfill, the college, Leadville’s eastside drinking water portal, following the railroad tracks up to the feet of the Sleeping Indian and the Climax Mine operations just beyond.
Four years ago, incumbent candidate Commissioner Sarah Mudge walked into the elected position unopposed in the high-stakes 2016 election, after beating out her only opponent in the Primary Election. This time around, she has a contender with a Leadville-born-and-raised Republican opponent named Ezekiah Lujan. In the final weeks, this race is heating up, as old-school Leadville challenges new-vision Lake County at the polls on November 3, 2020.
Candidate Ezekiah Lujan (R)
In early September, The Lake County Republicans hosted an outside, socially distant event for their members and candidates. Due to the COVID-19 health restrictions in place, this program was not open to the public but was recorded. Leadville Today has secured videos of several of the speeches made at the event. The first one is from Ezekiah Lujan (R). Voters interested in learning more or reaching out to this candidate for District Two directly may do so here:
Facebook: Lujan for Commissioner Facebook Page
Candidate Sarah Mudge (D)
As of this post, Leadville Today has not heard back from Incumbent Candidate Sarah Mudge since contacting all of the candidates for LT’s annual Political Round-Up Report. This will be updated as information is received. Until then, Leadville Today brings you this video from the 2016 files where Mudge outlines her vision for Lake County. LT also checked Mudge’s 2016 Facebook Page: Sarah-Mudge-for-Lake-County-Commissioner-District-2; the last post was made in June 2016. Now four years later, Mudge is asking voters for a second term.
District Three: Waugh vs. Fiedler
When it comes to representing District Three on the Board of County Commissioners, it’s all about the water . . . and Twin Lakes! Representing the region which sits at the feet of Colorado’s two highest peaks, water and those who own it will come keenly into focus in the next four years. With a majority of the land owned by federal agencies, District Three would do well with representation that fully understands the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. With its completion after more than 50 years of construction, there could be some surprises in store for Lake County. From the mechanically declining Sugar Loaf Dam, to the recent Clear Creek project to the south in Chaffee County, the next four years could see some major power plays along the waterways in District Three.
And then, there’s Twin Lakes . . . . unregulated growth, absentee federal oversight and well-intended Friends top the list of concerns in southern Lake County. Who’s been paying attention?
Candidate Hanna Waugh (L)
I am running for County Commissioner to bring transparency and respect to the office. We are in a time where we need more than words and promises to serve our community. We need honesty and decisive action to make it through our present situation.
Voters through the county have heard me speak about my three policies: accountability, respect, and character. We need to shed light on what is being done in our name, with our money. Our community should be able to trust our elected officials. We must keep Lake County unique while keeping our economy stable for the future.
I believe the single biggest problem facing Lake County is the lack of year-round work opportunities. We must incentivize year-round businesses to open in Lake County. We create a stronger community when residents work and shop local. We also create a safer Lake County for residents and visitors by reducing traffic over Fremont Pass and Battle Mountain. Lastly, by expanding our business revenues through the increase of businesses in Lake County, we can also help reduce some of the tax burdens on citizens and other local employers.
We need to ensure that citizens have stable, year-round jobs. I will cut my own salary before I ever consider cutting jobs or salaries of other county employees. I have been adamant about auditing our financial budget and taking a close look at where we are overspending. We must look at our current services and find ways to save money before we look at eliminating jobs.
Projects in the community will be delayed and spending will be reduced. Holding off on minor equipment repair and reducing water usage for county parks are two small ways to help reallocate money. As for larger ways to cut spending, I would like to see a lease to own program enacted at Road & Bridge, instead of buying older machines that ultimately need more work. I would also like to see furlough days for employees who make over a certain salary, similar to what other counties are doing in Colorado. Instead of trying to incentivize new hires to help with the county workload, I would like to see if we can also bring on local, private contractors. This would allow our employees to focus on their job duties without putting additional overtime and workload on them and be a way to reduce costs in the community.
Due to my commitment to put people before politics, I have received support from community leaders representing the full political spectrum here in Lake County. I’ve built my career by consistently making principled and practical decisions to solve challenges. I look forward to bringing those qualities to the Board of County Commissioners.
Please join me in giving everyone in Lake County a voice. Vote for me, Hanna Waugh, for County Commissioner in District Three.
You can learn more about me, my policies, and my stances on the issues at the links below.
- Official website: Hanna4Lake County
- Facebook: Hanna4LakeCounty
- Recent Podcast Interviews:
Libiterans Candidate for District Three, Hanna Waugh was also invited to speak at last month’s Candidates forum hosted by the Lake County Republicans. The following video was obtained by Leadville Today.
Candidate Jeff Fiedler (D)
I am running as a candidate for Lake County Commissioner in the 2020 elections (Democratic Candidate – District 3). I believe that Lake County and Leadville need forward-looking and engaged leadership so that together we can build a thriving community and restore trust in local government.
My primary reason for running is that I am genuinely excited to provide leadership from the County government as Lake County faces real challenges with incoming growth. On the one hand, we want to keep the small community feel, affordability, and open space of this amazing high mountain county. Unchecked growth has permanently changed other mountain towns and made family and workforce housing unaffordable. We want to minimize these negative aspects of growth. On the other hand, growth is an opportunity to catch up on decades of deferred maintenance and capital investments and help backfill the tax base we will lose when Climax mine shuts down.
We need to find a common-sense approach that balances the opportunities and challenges of increasing development in Lake County. I believe that if we plan ahead we can have growth on our own terms, avoiding the hard economic “bust” cycles of the past and creating more quality jobs in-county, without fundamentally changing what makes Lake County special.
My second reason for running is to restore community trust in County government. Unfortunately, Lake County residents have had too many reasons in the past to be disappointed by some of the decisions and actions of County and City officials. As we tackle challenging issues we cannot afford to waste time and energy making unforced errors. I believe we need to treat county staff with respect and provide consistent and professional management. But most of all we need to earn back the community’s trust making decisions transparently and with full opportunity for genuine citizen engagement.
I would bring significant local and professional experience to the role of County Commissioner. I am in my third year on the School Board, providing a county-wide view, oversight of a $12M annual operating budget, and strategic and long-term capital planning experience. I am proud to have served as the Board representative on the Facilities Master Plan, and co-chaired the successful bond campaign for the new West Park Pk-2 school which will begin construction this year.
I also serve on the Board of Lake County Build a Generation (LCBAG). I appreciate the work they do tackling big challenges facing Lake County and bringing the community together to develop systemic approaches like the Youth Master Plan, Senior Master Plan, and the ongoing work of the Housing Coalition. Professionally I have worked for over 25 years advocating for climate change policies at the state, federal and international level. This experience includes extensive policy analysis and development, drafting legislative and regulatory language, working constructively in partnerships, and managing large teams. Throughout I have developed a reputation for professionalism and an even-keeled temperament.
I look forward to earning your support over the coming months. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to discuss your questions and priority issues.
- Biography/Resume: Jeff Fiedler
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Fiedler for Lake County Commissioner
- Phone: 720-209-8852
Here Comes The Judge
Lake County voters will also have a chance to weigh-in on how they think Lake County Judge Jonathan Shamis is doing since being appointed in 2016. Should Judge Shamis retain his position on the bench? It’s a simple Yes or No vote, as are the other six justice questions from the 5th Judicial District to the Colorado Supreme Court, it’s time for voters to be the judge.