How to vote this local election season

Julia Trowbridge

Interactive map created by Samantha Ye.

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In 2017, only 28.25 percent of Fort Collins residents voted in City Council Elections.

The City of Fort Collins’ City Council is responsible for various decisions made throughout the City, from bringing scooters to Fort Collins, the installation of broadband internet and more. Residents of Fort Collins can vote for Councilmembers and the Mayor on April 2. This local election season, the Mayor and Councilmembers for Districts 1, 2, 4 and 6 are up for election.

“This gives local registered voters the opportunity to shape the community they live in,” wrote Fort Collins City Clerk Delynn Coldiron in an email to The Collegian. “They are able to have a voice in who will be representing them on City Council, as well as with the various ballot initiatives they get to weigh in on.”

Elections for City Council positions and other ballot issues happen every odd year, with ballots due on the first Tuesday of the month, after the first Monday. District Councilmembers are up for election every four years, with a maximum of two terms, while the Mayoral position is up for election every two years, with a maximum of three terms, according to the City Clerk’s website.

Registering to vote

Anyone who’s lived in Fort Collins 22 days prior to the election, is a United States citizen and is registered to vote can participate in Fort Collins’ local government elections. Residents can register to vote or check their registration at the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

Coldiron wrote that people are encouraged to register to vote by or before March 22. Residents who want to register after March 22 will need to visit the City Clerk’s Office in order to obtain a ballot.

How to vote

Fort Collins conducts their local elections by mail-in ballot, Coldiron wrote. Ballots will be mailed to residents starting March 15 and ballots must be mailed to the City Clerk’s office on or before March 28. Ballots cannot be received after April 2 by 7 p.m.

For people dropping off ballots, there are six drop-off boxes: South Transit Center, Senior Center, Fort Collins Police Services, Northside Aztlan Community Center, Larimer County Clerk and Recorder and City Hall.

This election season, the Mayoral position and Councilmembers for districts 1, 2, 4 and 6 are up for election. There are also two ballot initiatives pertaining to the Keep Fort Collins Great tax and raising the pay of City Councilmembers and the Mayor. People can determine what district they reside in using the interactive map on the top of the article.

Who’s running?

Mayor:
Michael Pruznick
Wade Troxell (current)

District 1:
Susan Gutowsky (current)
Glenn Haas
Joe Somodi

District 2:
Adam Eggleston
Susan Holmes
Noah Hutchison
Julie Pignataro

District 4:
Kristin Stephens (current)

District 6:
Lori Brunswig
Emily Gorgol
Fred Kirsch

Registered voter turnouts

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Generally, voter turnouts in local elections are low, averaging at about 27 percent of a population voting in local elections nationwide, according to the New York Times. In Fort Collins, voter turnout from registered voters ranged from 58.48 percent to 28.25 percent since 1999. An increase in registered voter turnout tends to happen if there are items on the ballot that people are interested in, Coldiron wrote.

The City works with the City Communications office to work on increasing voter turnouts, Coldiron wrote. Some of the things the City does to encourage voter turnout include press releases, announcements on social media, and a CityWorks Program to help educate residents on the operations of local governments.

Julia Trowbridge can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.