Boulder City Council votes against online petition signature gathering
Story by Boulder Weekly Staff. Originally published in the Boulder Weekly on April 23, 2020.
"At its virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 21, Boulder City Council voted against an emergency order that would have allowed online signature gathering for initiatives hoping to make the November ballot. “The proposed ordinance is far from a perfect solution,” according to a staff memo. “The intent is to balance the community value of direct democracy against the need to protect our community in this emergency.” Mayor Sam Weaver cast the deciding vote against the measure, as the rest of the Council was evenly divided over the issue.
In 2018, Boulder residents voted to allow online signature gathering, but the City is still developing a two-step verification system that won’t be ready until the 2021 election. Now that the City is under stay-at-home orders and social distancing encouraged, the prospect of gathering signatures in person seems almost impossible before the June 5 deadline.
Groups proposing the initiatives took to Twitter to express their dismay at the Council’s decision. 'The majority of Boulder City Council made an irresponsible decision tonight by disallowing online petition gathering in a pandemic,' wrote Charlotte Pitts, who supports Bedrooms for All People, an effort to allow more than three unrelated people to live in one house. The No Eviction without Representation campaign also faces an uphill battle to get its initiative on the ballot."