Save Boulder’s Local Elections

VOTE NO ON BALLOT MEASURE 2E

Vote NO on proposal to move our local City Council elections to even years.
Why vote NO? Moving local elections to even years would:

• Drown out City Council candidates focus on local concerns
• Eclipse local issues and local voices
• Increase partisanship and polarization in local elections

• Undermine good local government

VOTE NO ON MEASURE 2E

Even-Year Voting Will Obliterate Focus on Community Concerns

This change would make our City Council elections an afterthought, lost in the noise of state and national races, and will have significant unintended consequences.

Contentious state and federal elections will overwhelm and drown out discussion of  local issues

City Council candidates’ positions on local issues, from public safety and climate initiatives to clean water and flood protection, would be drowned out by the noise and conflict of national issues.  It would be extremely hard to reach voters, who deserve the opportunity to focus on local issues while maintaining respectful spaces for discussion and debate.

Remaining odd year elections would suffer precipitous drop in turnout 

This measure changes only the timing of City Council elections. It  does not consider the impact to other odd-year elections essentially “orphaning” school board elections, state ballot fiscal measures and local ballot measures. But, without municipal candidates to drum up interest, voter turnout would likely decrease even more in odd years with potentially deleterious effects.

No clear benefits to low-income and under-represented voters

Lower income registered voters traditionally have lower turnout rates and are consequently labeled as “unlikely” voters. In Boulder, moving local elections to even years will exacerbate low-turnout among marginalized residents as political parties and interest groups focus on the likely voters who will turn out for the national elections at the top of the ballot.

Further erodes trust in local Government

The process to place this item onto the ballot has been rushed and sloppy with only a single pro-forma opportunity for public input. The City Council ignored their own public engagement processes on this very substantial procedural change – a change that affects our primary right and responsibility as voters. This ballot measure would set a precedent for City Council to bypass public input and reward a rushed and unpublicized ballot item process. It’s a breach of trust by elected officials.

Opens our local elections to increased partisanship and special interest influence

Even-year elections overflow with campaign money accompanied by the influence of special interest groups. Moving the elections to even-years will absolutely open our local elections to partisanship and ideologues.  Research shows nationalizing local elections changes the incentives for candidates, who turn their attention to national issues and away from effective local governance.  The same research reveals that nationalizing elections increases polarization and partisanship.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it

Holding non-partisan elections in odd years became the norm (along with non-partisan local governance and home rule charters) for cities and local municipalities over 100 years ago. It was a successful effort to focus odd years on municipal services and governance. This model has served us well for over a century by balancing a focus on local issues in odd years with the necessary attention to state and national elections in even years.

Changing the timing of our elections would detract from attention to local issues. This move would be bad for local governance and a well-functioning city.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE 2E

Instead of changing to even year elections, we should make a real impact by:

  • Increasing outreach to unlikely voters, targeting under-represented groups.
  • Increasing support for candidates of all races and incomes to serve on City Council.
  • Fighting to keep voting accessible, such as including postage-paid ballot envelopes.
  • Discussing alternative voting systems like ranked choice voting with City Council and the public in order to elect Council members more fairly.

Measure 2E will diminish local issues and deliver longer ballots, but not better elections.

“The Clerk’s office encourages any city … interested in transitioning … to even-year elections to engage in a robust stakeholder process to understand the impacts on voters from voters as well as the groups that work to engage and educate voters.

Molly Fitzpatrick, Boulder County Clerk
Memo to Boulder City Council – June 2nd, 2022

Endorsements

Elected officials, former office holders, and your friends and neighbors across Boulder
encourage you to reject ballot measure 2E.

State Representative for Boulder and Gunbarrel

Rep. Edie Hooton

Colorado HD10 State Representative

Boulder Valley School District

Nicole Rajpal

Treasurer, BVSD Board of Education

Tina Marquis

Former President of
BVSD Board of Education

City Council Members and Advisory Boards

Mark Wallach

Boulder CC Member

Tara Winer

Boulder CC Member

Bob Yates

Boulder CC Member

John Gerstle

Boulder Planning Board Member

Brooke Harrison

Boulder County Board of Health Member

Sarah Silver

Boulder Planning Board Member

Hernan Villanueva

Boulder Environmental Advisory Board Member

Cindy Carlisle

Former Boulder CC Member & CU Regent

Allyn Feinberg

Former Boulder CC Member

George Karakehian

Former Boulder Mayor Pro Tem and CC Member

Lisa Morzel

Former Boulder Mayor Pro Tem and CC Member

Susan Osborne

Former Boulder Mayor and CC Member

Francoise Poinsatte

Former Boulder CC Member

Steve Pomerance

Former Boulder CC Member

Gordon Riggle

Former Boulder CC Member

Andrew Shoemaker

Former Boulder CC Member

Phil Stern

Former Boulder CC Member

Sam Weaver

Former Boulder Mayor and CC Member

Mary Young

Former Boulder Mayor Pro Tem and CC Member

Organizations

South East Boulder
Neighborhood Association (SEBNA)

Your Friends and Neighbors

Jim Hooton

Nancy Kornblum

Emily Reynolds

Leadership Team, ThinkBoulder

Karen Sandburg

Sara Mitton

Jeff Mitton

Lisa Spalding

Bart Windrum

Fred Thrall

Marsha Caplan

Leslie Chandler

Hal Hallstein

Mark Stangl

Matt Bissonette

Sue Larson

Judith McGill

Angela McCormick

Beth Isacke

Barb Appel 

Susan David Lambert

Valerie Yates

Karl Anuta

Sue Larson

Leslie Glustrom

Gail and Porter Storey

Shari Roth

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