Montezuma Colo. asks judge to sort out election controversy

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Photo: Montezuma, Colorado
Montezuma, Colorado

The Denver Post headline got a lot of attention this week. It read, “Town of Montezuma sues all of its voters over flawed election."

Montezuma is a small town in Summit County.

And there’s no question that its election this past April was “flawed.”

But Mayor Lesley Davis has a more diplomatic way of describing the legal action the town voted to take.

"I would say that it's [the town] not suing all of our residents," Davis said. "Instead the town is seeking the court’s assistance in resolving an election controversy."

Montezuma has a population of 65, and about a third of those residents are part-timers, second homeowners.

Now it might seem that not much could go wrong with so few people casting ballots.

Not so.

First there was the question of whether part-time residents were even eligible to vote.

Then there was the matter of the town clerk using a sewing machine to sew together parts of the ballots.

When questions about the process arose, it turns out the town board waited too long to contest the vote.

On top of everything, the town attorney resigned, and the board had to hire a new one to sort things out.

"And she [the new attorney] explained to us that we had actually done quite a few things wrong," Mayor Davis recounts.

So the town has asked a court to solve the matter.

The judge could look at all the evidence and decide everything is more or less ok, or the judge could tell the town to hold a new election.

Mayor Davis, who won by 3 votes, 5 percent of the voting population, could find herself without a post.

While the situation created some tension, Davis says most residents are taking it well and want to sort things out.

In the meantime, Montezuma faced a different kind of crisis this past June.

Snowmelt washed out the one county road in and out of town.

The mayor says residents pulled together, helped each other, and got through it. The road was fixed in about two weeks.

She hopes the same kind of attitude will help the town get through this controversy too.