As you must know there will be a special election on March 3, 2015 to determine if the citizens of Littleton will be providing oversight of urban renewal plans that use eminent domain and local tax dollars diverted to development. The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Arapahoe County to help with the election was to be approved by city council last Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 and by the Arapahoe county board of commissioners on Monday, Jan.5th.
Monday the board of county commissioners pulled the agenda item saying it would return on Monday, Jan. 13. The item was also pulled from the city council’s meeting Tuesday, Jan.6. Wonder why?
The first draft of the IGA stated that the election would be coordinated using Title 1-13.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS). That presented a problem because 13.5 states very clearly that it does not to apply to municipalities. The IGA was revised to restrict the statutes to 1-13 which is the Uniform Election Code; or so we were told. Then the items were pulled from both agendas.
Upon inquiry I was told that the City would be running their own election. Again I asked who was going to be running the election and I was told that it would be the City Clerk. But, the Municipal Election Code makes it very clear that the election commission has the full power and authority to conduct the election. Which makes sense – why would citizens want the council and/or city staff to be involved in an election that may result in unwelcome consequences for them. For example, if there is a recall of a council member why should the council or their staff be conducting the election? A real conflict of interest. Sort of like the hen guarding the fox house. So, the wisdom of the lawmakers was to ensure that they would not be involved and the responsibilities fall to the election commission, which is made up of two citizens and the city clerk. Here’s what the statute says:
31-10-105. Election commission
The election commission in municipalities having such commission has all the powers and jurisdiction and shall perform all the duties provided by this article with respect to clerks and governing bodies, but the election commission does not have the authority to call a special election.
What this means is that all powers and jurisdiction that would normally fall upon the city clerk and governing board now reside in the election commission. The clerk and the council are subordinate to the election commission in the conduct of the March 3 election.
As of today the election commission has not met and we are less than 60 days from an election.
Submitted by Carol Brzeczek