RIO GRANDE COUNTY — Rio Grande County submitted its preliminary election results for the 2021 coordinated election Tuesday night, Nov. 2 only a few minutes past 8 p.m. The numbers showed that 3,317 ballots were cast out of the 7,831 registered voters in the county, putting voter turnout at 42.36%.
The focus for this year’s election came down to the school districts in Center, Sargent, Monte Vista, and Del Norte. Each district had at least two to three open positions to fill this year and the voters made almost all the races close. The unofficial results from the election will be certified in the coming weeks.
For Center School District, there was one open seat with two candidates running and an unopposed seat for the Center Board of Education Director in District 26JT. G. Lyn Bogle won the race for the open Board of Education seat against Miquel Rios. Misty Palacios retained her seat unopposed.
Monte Vista Board of Education had two seats open and four candidates running for the four-year positions. They also had an unopposed seat open for a two-year term. Orlando DeHerrera came in with the most votes and won a single seat on the board with 650 votes. Kurtis Holland came in with 626 votes while Angela Waggoner came in next with 617 votes. Ruthanna Segar came in with 562 votes. Cliff Kincannon won the Board of Education Director seat unopposed for the next two years.
Sargent School District had three open seats and three candidates running for the Board of Education. Lorena Price came in with 269 votes and Michele Peterson came in with 265 votes. The last candidate Matthew Smartt came in with 246 votes. The Sargent School Board of Education Director race came down to Nathan Burkhart winning the race with 193 votes and Clayton Mitchell falling short with 136 votes.
The Upper Rio Grande School District in Del Norte had two vacant seats open on its Board of Education and six candidates running. The two winning candidates were Bridget Kreutzer with 510 votes and Leroy Trujillo with 423 votes. Donna L. Velasquez came in next with 419 votes, Thomas Tichy with 373 votes, Fedele “Phil” Paccione Jr with 242 votes and Nellianna Edelen with 271 votes.
Proposition 119 asked Colorado voters to amend the Colorado Constitution and add a change to state statues that would allow an increase in marijuana sales tax for out of school education funding. By early morning on Nov. 3, it was clear state-wide that the measure was not going to pass. In Rio Grande County, constituents voted 1,463 for and 1,790 against.
Proposition 120 asked voters in Colorado to decrease property tax by as much as $1 billion per year but voter opted to shoot down the measure during the election state-wide. Rio Grande County voted against Proposition 120 in a 1,429 for and 1,792 against vote.
Amendment 78 would have changed the power to appropriate funds from the Colorado State Treasurer to the Colorado State Legislature and was strongly opposed throughout the state. This Amendment needed at least 55% of the votes to pass and according to the data rolling in from across the state 56% voted against the amendment. Rio Grande County voted 1,481 for and 1,744 against.
The new school broad members will be sworn in at the next regular meeting at the end of the month.