Online petitioning system gets nod from Boulder City Council
By Deborah Swearingen. Originally published in the Daily Camera on December 16, 2020.
"Campaign organizers looking to place initiatives on the ballot in the upcoming election cycle will have access to Boulder Direct Democracy Online, a new software that allows for electronic signature gathering.
Boulder City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that amends the city’s charter to allow use of the software developed by Arizona-based Runbeck Election Services and clarifies election procedures, including the number of signatures required for various measures and the deadline for submitting those signatures.
But there is one stipulation that caused concern in Tuesday’s hearing. At least for now, campaigns must choose: the new electronic system or the old paper one.
Nearly every person who spoke during the public hearing lamented that requirement, saying it will affect equitable access and doesn’t do much to help rebuild the trust lost earlier this year when city staff provided inaccurate information that prohibited some initiatives from making the ballot.
“It is absolutely imperative that the proposed ordinance in front of you be amended to allow both forms of signature gathering in order to provide campaigns and the community with equitable access to the democratic process,” Chelsea Castellano said.
Castellano is co-chair of Bedrooms Are For People, an initiative that pushed for less restrictive occupancy limits. The initiative did not make this year’s ballot because of the misinformation, but organizers intend to move forward with the campaign in the upcoming year.
Although local political group PLAN-Boulder County and the Bedrooms campaign don’t always see eye to eye, this is one issue where the two groups align."