Denver City Council Quietly Rushing Bill Jeopardizing the Ballot Initiative Process

Colorado Common Cause and eight other community groups urge the council to oppose Council Bill 22-0876

Denver, CO – Today, the Denver City Council is voting on a bill that would severely limit Denverites’ right to pass or change laws through the ballot initiative process. Heavily pushed by wealthy special interests, Council Bill 22-0876 would refer a City Charter Amendment to the November ballot that would make the ballot initiative process more expensive and inaccessible to everyday citizens. In an atypical fashion, this bill has been quietly rushed to a vote, preventing community and grassroots organizations and the public from providing meaningful input. 

Colorado Common Cause urges the City Council to postpone the vote to give the community more time to provide input on such an impactful measure. Constituents deserve to know about and have a say on the changes that will fundamentally alter the way democracy functions in their city. For this reason, Colorado Common Cause and a group of 8 other democracy and community-based organizations have signed a joint letter urging the council to oppose Council Bill 22-0876.

“We believe in protecting an equitable and accessible democracy that works for everyone,” said Cameron Hill, Associate Director of Colorado Common Cause. “We can’t sit by and watch City Council give wealthy special interests a shortcut so they can strip away Denverite’s rights by reserving the initiative process for themselves and other corporate and political elites.”

Denver’s Ballot Access Modernization Committee does not recommend Council Bill 22-0876, and by referring this measure to the ballot, the City Council is allowing its proponents to bypass the signature gathering process required for a City Charter Amendment. No one should be allowed to take a shortcut that undermines democracy and silences the voices of other voters, no matter how deep their pockets run. Sending this measure to the ballot would tarnish Denver’s shining image of a strong, equitable democracy and could restrict Denverites’ ability to advocate for themselves for years to come.

“Denver has made great strides to promote an inclusive and equitable democracy,” added Hill. “I hope the City Council will think twice before fast-tracking this Charter Amendment on behalf of Denver’s corporate elite. We should be breaking down barriers to accessing our democracy, not creating new ones.”

Council Bill 22-0876 will be voted on today, August 15, 2022, at 3:30 PM in the Cathy Reynolds City Council Chamber.

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