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Update: Ballot count totals 5,565 by the election’s end

In-person voting will take place on Tuesday for the primary election. (Journal file photo)
County officials were expecting more people to vote in person on Tuesday after low mail-in ballot count on Monday

The number of mail-in ballots received in Montezuma County are lower than the previous primary election in 2020, said Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell.

By the end of election day, 5,565 ballots were returned. Out of that number, 2,050 were returned in the last two days of the election, Percell said on Wednesday.

During the presidential primary held in March, a total of 3,262 ballots were returned on the last two days of the election in comparison.

From the presidential primary held last March; we had a total of 3262 ballots returned on the last 2 days of the election.

There were 32 in-person voters at the Vote Service Polling Center on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Percell told The Journal that they have 4,645 ballots returned as of noon. While she didn’t have an exact number of in-person voters as of this writing, she shared that they have been busy.

About 3,000 mail-in ballots had been returned by Monday morning, with another 500 expected to be added to that count by the end of the day.

“Voter turnout is kind of low at this point, but we haven’t processed what has been turned in over the weekend,” Percell said Monday. “We’re currently just under 3,000 ballots that have been returned, but I think we’re going to have close to 3,500 when we get done counting what came in over the weekend.”

This number is low compared with the 2020 primary and saw more than 5,000 turned in.

“We also received almost 3,000 ballots in the last Monday and Tuesday before the election, so we expect quite a few people to be doing in-person voting,” Percell said.

In-person voting will take place all day Tuesday, and ballot drop off-boxes will remain open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The boxes are located at the Montezuma County Annex (107 N. Chestnut St., Cortez), Dolores Town Hall (420 Central Ave., Dolores), Mancos Town Hall (117 N. Main St., Mancos), Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Headquarters (125 Mike Wash Road., Towaoc), 123 Roger Smith Ave., Cortez) and Cox’s Corner Store (18794 U.S. 491, Lewis).

Statewide, 533,659 ballots have been turned as of Friday at 9 a.m., according to data from Colorado.gov.

Percell urged local voters to make their voices heard in the election by exercising their right to vote.

“Don’t lose your opportunity to vote,” she said. “All the drop boxes are open, but will be locked up at exactly 7 p.m. tomorrow night for in-person voting at the county annex. So, let’s get out and vote.”

Montezuma County Republicans and unaffiliated voters will be able to vote for the Republican representative for the 3rd Congressional District after Rep. Lauren Boebert opted instead to run for the 4th Congressional District after moving to Windsor.

The Republican chosen on Tuesday will run against Democrat Adam Frisch, who nearly beat Boebert in the last election cycle.

Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman, only lost to Boebert by 546 votes.

The six Republican candidates running for the 3rd Congressional District seat are Stephen Varela, Ron Hanks, Lew Webb, Russ Andrews, Curtis McCrackin and Jeff Hurd.

Varela, 39, is from Pueblo and is a U.S. Army veteran. He also has a master’s degree in social work. One of the most important issues Varela mentioned in the Voter Voices 2024 survey was bringing jobs back to the district and closing the border.

“Interestingly enough, I hear more of it from a lot of our Hispanic folks in the community that have come here through the (legal) process,” Varela said in the survey.

Hanks, 59, is a former Colorado House member who served in the Air Force for 32 years. Hanks shared that issues that are at the forefront of his campaign primarily focus on national security, mismanagement of the border and energy policies. He also expressed his desire to see American manufacturing come back to America.

Webb, 65, is a Durango resident who is active in Safari Club International, an organization that supports hunting.

Webb said his reason to run for the House of Representatives in Colorado is for his children and grandchildren, citing the staggering national debt as a massive concern for him and how it will affect future generations.

Andrews, 66, is a financial adviser and former engineer who lives in Carbondale.

Like Varela, Andrews spoke of his concerns regarding the southern border.

“I’ve made over 10,000 cold call dials to voters in the district, and more than 91% of the respondents say that immigration and the broken border is the number one issue, so it is my number one issue,” Andrews said.

McCrackin 62, is a former general contractor and works in real estate in Cedaredge.

McCrackin spoke of inflation, saying that the high prices of groceries, gasoline and homes show the way money is being spent in the U.S. needs to change.

Hurd, 44, is an attorney in Grand Junction who expressed his concerns over rural America “being left behind.” Hurd said he hoped to see rural Colorado’s economy grow and thrive so young people wish to move in and start their lives in Colorado’s small towns.

“I feel like our best export, our kids, they grow up, they leave and they don’t come back,” Hurd said. “And fundamentally, I want to create economic opportunities so that our children and our grandchildren can, if they want, stay and live and thrive in rural Colorado.”

He also mentioned producing more energy in Colorado and protecting farmers, ranchers and water in the state.