Bedrooms, bad advice and the ballot: What the heck is going on in Boulder?
After city’s error, a grassroots campaign takes elected officials to court
By Alex Burness. Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post. Originally published by The Denver Post on August 10, 2020.
"Direct democracy isn’t supposed to be this complicated.
In fact, the playbook is fairly simple: People who want to amend or create a law via a ballot measure write their proposal out and then seek approval to circulate petitions. If it’s a state ballot measure, they need an OK from the secretary of state, otherwise they work with their local clerk. In order to demonstrate a base of support, they must collect signatures from a small percentage of the relevant electorate, and once they’ve done that their measure can proceed to the ballot for a vote of the people.
This happens across the country every year, and the rules are relatively consistent and straightforward.
But in Boulder this year, the process has been anything but.
What began as a typical ballot effort was threatened first by the pandemic, then by bad advice from city officials, and ultimately by elected representatives who believe they have no obligation to account for the city’s inconsistency. Now, a citizen campaign is suing, and the makeup of Boulder’s 2020 ballot is in the hands of a judge."