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Council decision on petition rules sets higher bar for direct democracy in Boulder

By Shay Castle. Originally published in the Boulder Beat on July 24, 2020.


"Five members of council on Tuesday did what as many lawyers could not, agreeing that state law, not Boulder’s own charter, dictates certain aspects of local elections. In doing so, elected officials set a higher bar for future attempts to change the city charter, giving residents less time to gather more signatures.


City council also rejected the idea of placing on the ballot citizen-led efforts currently underway, the only path to voters for at least one campaign after city staff gave incorrect guidance on legal deadlines. Even if the required signatures are gathered, Boulder’s clerk will not certify the results; the group sponsoring the measure has threatened a lawsuit.


Read a live-tweet thread of Tuesday’s discussion


Whatever the outcome, this contentious election cycle — the first time petitions have been attempted in four years —  will likely have lasting impacts on direct democracy in Boulder, from decisions made by city leaders to issues being raised by residents, which council has pledged to address in some form."


Read the full story on the Boulder Beat.

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