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Bedrooms Are For People Files Suit Against City of Boulder for Ballot Access

Bedrooms Are For People is a community-led ballot initiative to let Boulder voters consider changes to the city’s home occupancy limits

Monday, August 3, 2020 — Boulder, CO

Today, the Bedrooms Are For People grassroots campaign filed a lawsuit against the City of Boulder on behalf of the many thousands of Boulder residents who support direct democracy and want to vote on this ballot measure in 2020. Campaign volunteers are seeking legal access to the November ballot after a 5-4 City Council majority indicated on July 21 that they will disregard the 7,764 signatures the campaign submitted per the city’s published Guidelines.


Bedrooms Are For People is a volunteer campaign dedicated to empowering Boulder voters to decide whether to reform the City of Boulder’s home occupancy laws via the campaign’s proposed 2020 ballot measure. For decades, the Boulder government has based its discriminatory and exclusionary home occupancy limits on residents’ relationship status. In most of Boulder, it is currently illegal for more than three unrelated people to live together. If passed, the proposed charter amendment would change the city’s laws to allow one person to live in each legally defined bedroom of a home (plus one additional person), regardless of whether or not those people are related to each other.

Boulder’s City Council ignored the guidance of public health officials by requiring and even readily encouraging volunteers to collect in-person signatures on paper petitions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in order to get this proposed measure on the 2020 ballot. The council made this alarming decision despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Boulder voters had already approved electronic signature-gathering for citizen-led ballot initiatives in 2018.


Nonetheless, Bedrooms Are For People volunteers decided that it was worth risking their own health to help make Boulder a more welcoming and inclusive community.


After submitting 7,764 signatures to the city on July 29, campaign volunteers are confident that they submitted more than the 4,048 valid Boulder voter signatures that the city repeatedly informed them were needed by August 5 in order to automatically qualify for the November ballot.


Despite many public commitments by the City of Boulder to honor the published Guidelines that the city repeatedly provided to citizen-led ballot initiative campaigns, a 5-4 majority of the City Council decided on July 21 to double down on their efforts to exclude the Bedrooms Are For People initiative from the ballot by retroactively increasing the signature requirement and making the deadline a date that had passed more than a month prior.


“Five members of the City Council have decided not to respect the wishes of Boulder voters and not to honor the election Guidelines that the city widely distributed and publicly upheld between 2019 and July 2020,” said campaign co-chair Eric Budd.


The Boulder City Council still has the choice to end this lawsuit and remedy the city’s direct democracy debacle. Unfortunately, the council majority has indicated they will not honor the will of the people by placing the Bedrooms Are For People measure on the 2020 ballot for the Boulder community to vote on.

“A judgment in our favor will compel the Boulder City Clerk and City Council to place our measure on the 2020 ballot once they have confirmed we met the signature thresholds outlined in the city’s Guidelines. We should not be forced to fund a legal battle against our own elected representatives to ensure our constitutional right to direct democracy,” said campaign co-chair Chelsea Castellano.

Bedrooms Are For People volunteers are asking supporters to help this grassroots community campaign raise money for Boulder’s Democracy Defense Fund at www.bedroomsareforpeople.com/donate.

View the legal complaint from Bedrooms Are For People - Case # 2020CV030632.


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MEDIA CONTACTS


Eric Budd

Campaign Co-Chair, Bedrooms are for People

720-295-1122 | ericbudd@gmail.com


Chelsea Castellano

Campaign Co-Chair, Bedrooms are for People

732-977-77467 | chelseacastellano@gmail.com


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