Basalt voters may have to wait a bit longer than usual to find out the results from Tuesday's election, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill Infante, Bill Kane and Rob Leavitt are running for Basalt mayor. Glenn Drummond, Tiffany Haddad, Elyse Hottel, David Knight, Jennifer Riffle and Kirk "Dieter" Schindler are vying for three open town council seats.
Pam Schilling, the town's clerk, said in an email the virus may slow down counting operations since staff will have to wash their hands and sanitize surfaces much more frequently. On top of those precautions, staff must hand count all mayoral ballots by hand due to a change in the mayoral election voting process.
Schilling said those two things combined will cause results to come in no earlier than 9 p.m. Tuesday night. If they cannot finishing counting that evening, results will be released Wednesday.
Mayoral ballots must be counted by hand because of a process the town adopted in 2002 called "ranked choice voting." If three or more candidates run for mayor, voters must rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate wins more than half of the first choices, they win the election.
If there is no majority winner, the race is decided by an instant runoff, in which the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and votes are recounted for the remaining candidates. If there is a majority winner, that candidate wins. If not, the process continues until a candidate with more than half the votes wins.
Ballots for the three open seats on council can be counted electronically.
All ballots must be dropped off in the 24/7 ballot box behind Basalt Town Hall by 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7. Ballots should have been mailed in by April 1 to count.
Editor's Note: Molly Dove is reporting for Aspen Public Radio remotely from Wisconsin.