Save Boulder’s Local Elections


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


Even Year Elections Will Harm Local Democracy and Community Focus

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.

“Colorado election laws are already voter-friendly with mail-in ballots and same day voter registration.  Pushing City Council races to the bottom of a multi-page ballot in national election years is bad news for good local governance. Please vote NO on 2E.”
Rep. Edie Hooton
Colorado HD10 State Representative

The Colorado State Capitol.

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.

The Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) building.

BVSD school board candidates would be abandoned as lone local odd-year elections – BVEA endorses NO on 2E 

School board elections must be held in odd years as mandated by state law. The 2E measure changes only the timing of Boulder City Council candidate elections. In the rush to put this measure on the ballot, the impacts on BVSD elections were not considered. No outreach to the school board (or any other body) was performed, leaving their concerns unheard. This is why the President of the BVSD board and BVEA, the association that represents our community’s teachers, urge a NO vote on 2E.

A person of color carrying a ballot and a pen.

Voter turnout efforts will still ignore 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.

A photo of Nicole Rajpal, the Treasurer of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education.

Measure 2E poses risks to BVSD school board elections. BVSD School Board Members make decisions that significantly impact the educational experiences of the 29,000 students living across the 11 municipalities in our district. Boulder is the largest city we serve, and I am concerned that separating BVSD School Board elections from the Boulder City Council elections will result in disproportionately fewer Boulder residents voting in our school board races. As a result, I’m voting NO on 2E.

Nicole Rajpal
Treasurer, BVSD Board of Education
A photo of Ceal Barry, a former University of Colorado Basketball Coach and Senior Associate Athletic Director.

I am voting NO on Ballot question 2E. By listing local initiatives at the end of a very lengthy ballot, it only reinforces the notion that local issues are less important than national concerns.  I’d prefer to motivate voters to participate every year!

Ceal Barry
Former University of Colorado Basketball Coach and Senior Associate Athletic Director
A photo of Mary Young, a former Boulder Mayor Pro Tem and City Council Member.

Will 2E engage new people or increase the representativeness of our city council? After careful review of the research, the answer to these questions is No.

Mary Young
Former Boulder Mayor Pro Tem and CC Member
A photo of Kathy Gebhardt, the current President of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education.

The proposed election change only shifts City Council. A change in state statute is required for school boards to change. Changes such as this should be done systematically and inclusively, not on a piecemeal basis leaving school districts alone to bear the costs of elections. Our money should be spent on our students, not elections.  Systemic change works best when all the interested parties are engaged and can have thorough and fact based discussions, a process that did not occur here.

Kathy Gebhardt
President of the BVSD Board of Education
A photo of Sam Weaver, a former Boulder Mayor and City Council member.

Measure 2E would create many likely downsides: community issues swamped by national campaigns, local candidates lost in the shuffle, school races with even fewer voters. This measure was rushed to the ballot with scant public input. It’s not ready for prime time, or your vote

Sam Weaver
Former Boulder Mayor and CC Member
A photo of Andrew Shoemaker, a former Boulder City Council Member.

Moving City Council elections to even years will decrease attention on important City Council elections and further increase the power of slates.  Slates are problematic already:  Let’s not make the problem worse.

Andrew Shoemaker
Former Boulder CC Member
A photo of Mark Wallach, a current Boulder City Council Member.

Our elections for City Council are a nonpartisan, in-depth conversation between the community and the candidates. That conversation will be lost if Council elections are buried underneath contests for President, Senator, House, State representatives and judges. Odd-year elections have served this community well for decades. Vote “No” on 2E.

Mark Wallach
Boulder CC Member
A photo of Bob Yates, a current Boulder City Council Member.

If Boulder’s city council elections are shifted to even years, the remaining odd-year elections–for school board and for local ballot measures and tax questions–will be “orphaned,” with even lower voter turnout.

Bob Yates Winer
Boulder CC Member
A photo of the City Council Chambers.

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.

Two heads representing the Democratic and the Republican parties crashing into each other.

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.

An old photo from the 1800s of Boulder, CO.

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.


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.
A young mother casting her ballot while carrying her baby.

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


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

State Representatives for Boulder and Gunbarrel

Rep. Edie Hooton

Colorado HD10 State Representative

Senator Rollie Heath, former Majority Leader of the Colorado Senate

Senator Rollie Heath

Former State Senate Majority Leader

Boulder Valley School District

Kathy Gebhardt

President of BVSD Board of Education

Nicole Rajpal

Treasurer, BVSD Board of

Stacey Zis

BVSD Board of Education

Tina Marquis

Former President of
BVSD Board of Education

Lesley Smith

Former BVSD Board of
Education Member

Laurie Albright

Former President of
BVSD Board of Education

Tina Mueh

Former Boulder Valley Education
Association (BVEA) President

Boulder County Commissioners

Josie Heath, former Boulder County Commissioner

Josie Heath

Former Boulder County Commissioner

City Council Members and Advisory Boards

Mark Wallach

Boulder CC Member

Tara Winer

Boulder CC Member

Bob Yates

Boulder CC Member

Michael Christy

Boulder Cannabis Licensing Board Member

John Gerstle

Boulder Planning Board Member

Brooke Harrison

Boulder County Board of Health Member

Sarah Silver

Boulder Planning Board Member

Hernán Villanueva

Boulder Environmental Advisory Board Member

Cindy Carlisle

Former Boulder CC Member & CU Regent

Allyn Feinberg

Former Boulder CC Member

Crystal Gray

Former Boulder CC Member

Suzanne Jones

Former Boulder Mayor and 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


South East Boulder
Neighborhood Association (SEBNA)

Your Friends and Neighbors

Karl Anuta

Barb Appel 

Michele Bishop

Matt Bissonette

Brian Bonnlander

Marsha Caplan

Leslie Chandler

David Driscoll

Mary Cooper Ellis

Barbara Fahey

Lili Francklyn

Leslie Glustrom

Jane Greenfield

Hal Hallstein

Jim Hooton

Beth Isacke

Nancy Kornblum

Susan David Lambert

Sue Larson

John Lichter

Peggy Lichter

Leonard May

Michael McCarthy

Angela McCormick

Judith McGill

Ulla Merz

Hope Michelsen

Sara Mitton

Jeff Mitton

Ning Mosberger-Tang

Donnie Novak

Emily Reynolds

Leadership Team, ThinkBoulder

Gordon Riggle

Jack S Rook III

Shari Roth

Karen Sandburg

Lisa Spalding

Britta Singer

Mark Stangl

Phil Stern

Gail and Porter Storey

Tim Thomas

Fred Thrall

Richard Valenty

Stuart Walker

Bart Windrum

Peggy Wrenn

Valerie Yates