After months of conducting informal surveys with folks on the street, Pinedale resident Paul Rock decided to start a petition to increase the number of county commissioners from three to five. He set himself an Aug. 29 deadline to get more than the 351 signatures that would prompt a November special election.
Rock surpassed his deadline by nearly five months and started turning in the petition in stages starting March 31, and County Clerk Mary Lankford validated it on April 25. Rock said he submitted 416 signatures, but Lankford said her office stopped counting at 366, when she was sure it had enough.
By having the petition validated prior to April 28, Rock and his supporters made the deadline for an August special election. In mid-March, at the beginning of the process, he told the Roundup he doubted he could garner enough support so quickly, but with signing parties and tables set up at local events, the process went fairly quickly.
“I was very surprised,” Rock said. “I thought it would take me three months, but I got them in three weeks. I was overwhelmed with people who were excited about the idea.”
In March, Rock said he started the petition to increase representation within the county. He said with only three commissioners, “there are too few perspectives as to where and how [County] money is spent.”
The election is scheduled for Aug. 16, with absentee ballots available starting July 8. The five commissioners proposition is the only issue on the ballot.
Voter turnout for special elections is generally much lower than it is for primaries or general elections, so Lankford said she only had 4,000 ballots printed. She also noted there will be six county polling places instead of the traditional nine.
Still, the special election is estimated to cost the County between $7,000 and $8,000, including $3,500 for election judges.
Proponents of five commissioners need a simple majority to win, and Lankford said the additional two commissioners would be elected in the 2012 election cycle, along with current commissioner John Linn’s seat. For the complete article see the 05-20-2011 issue.
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