City Council votes yes on amendment of requirements and procedures for city elections

Matthew Bailey

Fort Collins City Council members reviewed several topics during Tuesday evening’s meeting. One of which was the amendment of requirements and procedures for city elections.

The meeting, during which Gerry Horak served as Mayor Pro Tem during Mayor Wade Troxell’s absence, began with a citizen participation session, with 22 people voicing their concerns over issues such as the overpopulation of prairie dogs in communities and authorizing debt for broadband utility.

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Following the citizen participation session, Fort Collins City Clerk Delynn Coldiron delivered a five minute-long presentation about requirements and procedures for city elections under the amendment of Chapter 7 of the code of the City of Fort Collins.

“The election co-committee has continued to meet monthly, and so tonight we’re just presenting to you the recommendations that we have this round,” Coldiron said.

Coldiron began her presentation by talking about requirements and procedures regarding expenditures for political advertising, which includes internet advertising.

“Our proposal was to update the code language to clarify in the definition of independent expenditures, advertisements that are placed for a fee on another person’s website as well as advertisement space that has been provided for no fee or a reduced fee,” Coldiron said. “Where there would ordinarily be a fee, that would also become an item covered by independent expenditures.”

Next, Coldiron talked about proposed minor deadline adjustments for write-in candidates. These adjustments include changing deadlines to seven-day increments, setting most deadlines to Tuesdays, keeping the Friday prior to elections as the day on which financial reports are due and extending the election period from 60 to 70 days in which a final report is due on the last day.

Since the current deadlines can be tight for candidates, the proposed adjustments would provide relief and improve transparency with reports, Coldiron said.

Coldiron then talked about requirements and procedures regarding the Uniform Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

“Another item that we’re proposing tonight is related to the Uniform Oversees Citizens Absentee Voting Act, or UOCAVA,” Coldiron said. “We are proposing a new code section for this. It would include definitions and a requirement that the city clerk provide advanced notice of elections.”

Coldiron said these clarifications would provide voters with alternate methods for voting, and voters would be required to sign an agreement that would allow the city clerk to gather their information and transfer it to a city ballot so that it could be processed normally.

Furthermore, the UOCAVA information board would also have provisions relating to receiving ballots up to eight days after the election, Coldiron said.

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Coldiron lastly talked about requirements and procedures regarding campaign materials and independent expenditures.

“This would now require candidates to keeps samples of any public communications that they have,” Coldiron said. “This is something that was requested by our citizens that we think will increase transparency in the election process.”

These requirements also include independent expenditures for support of opposing ballot issues or ballot questions.

This would not include items such as news articles, editorial endorsements, opinions or commentary writings, letters to the editor and communications other than advertisements that are posted and published on the internet for no fee, Coldiron said.

All six councilmembers who were present voted to pass the amendment of requirements and procedures for city elections.

Collegian news reporter Matt Bailey can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @matnes1999.