Coloradans deciding who’ll get their votes in this year’s mayoral and city council elections appear to have been discovering or rediscovering that candidates on those voters’ blank ballots aren’t identified as members of specific political parties or as being unaffiliated with any parties.

The nonpartisan nature of municipal election candidate contests has long been the case — at least a decades-long absence of party affiliation on ballots for city and town councils and boards that stems from state law and the Colorado Constitution and is reflected in the language of home-rule charters adopted by most, if not all, of those municipalities.

Judging from questions and comments about election contests on social media and inquiries to conventional media outlets, however, some voters assumed that those party affiliations would routinely be included on ballots, as they are for county government, state government and federal government offices when those posts are up for election.

The nonpartisan nature of municipal elections has “been like that as long as there has been a municipal election code” in state law, said Kevin Bommer, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League.

In Colorado, candidates for mayor, city council or town board seats “are nominated by citizens, and not political parties,” Bommer said in an email.

“There are no primaries or caucuses” similar to those that are part of the process of picking the final candidates to appear in elections for county, state legislative, state government or federal offices, Bommer noted in a Friday email. Municipal candidates have to collect nomination petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.

For cities and towns, therefore, “the political affiliation is not part of the process to get on the ballot, so there is no reason for it to be on the ballot,” Bommer said.

When asked about the rationale for partisan versus nonpartisan election contests, Bommer said. “I can’t think of any good arguments for political affiliation on municipal ballots. Most municipal issues that elected officials deal with are not partisan.”

He asked, for example, whether fixing a pothole is a Republican issue, or a Democratic issue.

“Partisanship doesn’t necessarily beget polarization,” Bommer said in a separate email. “However, the destructive tone that has become the norm in national politics can certainly have an impact at other levels of government. There just aren’t a lot of great examples of statesmanship at the national level anymore.”

Seats on Colorado’s local school boards are also filled in nonpartisan elections, another set of contests that many of the state’s voters are finding on their local ballots this year.

Susan Meek, director of strategic engagement and communications for the Colorado Association of School Boards, said the nonpartisan nature of that office also is set by state law, which she quoted in a Friday email, saying a “candidate for the office of school director shall not run as a candidate of any political party for that school directorship.”

The partisan-party-label prohibition applying to ballots for school board seats has existed in Colorado law since at least July 6, 1973, Meek said.

It was unclear Friday how long the nonpartisan-election requirement for municipal offices has been part of Colorado law, but Longmont city spokesman Rigo Leal and the City Attorney’s Office said in emails this past week it appears to have been incorporated into Longmont’s municipal charter when that charter was originally adopted and Longmont became a home-rule Colorado city in August 1961.

Longmont’s city charter states that “city elections shall be governed by the Colorado Municipal Election Law,”  and “elections shall be nonpartisan.”

Longmont City Clerk Dawn Quintana said a section of the Constitution of the State of Colorado about home rule for cities and towns also refers to local municipal elections “tending to be nonpartisan in character.”

The City Clerk’s Office’s webpage about the Nov. 2 election includes a sentence in bold-faced print advising readers, “Due to the nonpartisan nature of municipal elections, the City Clerk’s Office does not have any information regarding any candidates’ party affiliation.”

The Colorado Municipal League’s Bommer said other than a recent Denver Channel 9 news story inspired by an Aurora City Council candidate’s declaration during a debate that he was “the Democratic candidate” for that seat, “the only folks really talking about this” nonpartisan versus partisan municipal contests issue “are members of the media.”

Bommer said, “While municipal candidates and elected officials may certainly disclose their personal party affiliation, or have it discovered and announced by the media or private citizens, it really has very little place in municipal politics in determining who to vote for.

“The voter can learn about the candidate who has been nominated to appear on the ballot and determine the issues that he or she is for and against that will impact the direction of the municipality,” he said. “Inserting an ‘R,’ ‘D,’ ‘U’ or whatever after the person’s name on the ballot won’t tell them that, especially in some municipalities where they could be almost exclusively from one party under that system. For example, if a voter is in Boulder County and voting for up to three candidates out of six in a municipal election, how does party affiliation help if five of them are ‘D’?”

The National League of Cities, on one of that organization’s webpages that discusses partisan versus nonpartisan elections, states that proponents of nonpartisan ballots suggest that “political parties are irrelevant to providing services,” and “cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely.”

Proponents for partisan elections, according to the National League of Cities, argue “the absence of party labels confuses voters; a voter who must choose from among a group of candidates whom she knows nothing about will have no meaningful basis in casting a ballot. In the absence of a party ballot, voters will turn to whatever cue is available, which often turns out to be the ethnicity of a candidate’s name.”

The National League of Cities summary also states “nonpartisanship tends to produce elected officials more representative of the upper socioeconomic strata than of the general populace and aggravates the class bias in voting turnout, because in true nonpartisan systems there are no organizations of local party workers to bring lower-class citizens to the polls on election day.”

Bommer said the Colorado Municipal League has no position on the issue of partisan versus nonpartisan election contests because “it has never been presented as an issue on which to establish an official policy or position. It is accepted that the (municipal candidates) appear on the ballot without party affiliation, and I’m aware of no proposals to have it any other way in my 22 years with the League.”

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Coloradans deciding who’ll get their votes in this year’s mayoral and city council elections appear to have been discovering or rediscovering that candidates on those voters’ blank ballots aren’t identified as members of specific political parties or as being unaffiliated with any parties.

The nonpartisan nature of municipal election candidate contests has long been the case — at least a decades-long absence of party affiliation on ballots for city and town councils and boards that stems from state law and the Colorado Constitution and is reflected in the language of home-rule charters adopted by most, if not all, of those municipalities.

Judging from questions and comments about election contests on social media and inquiries to conventional media outlets, however, some voters assumed that those party affiliations would routinely be included on ballots, as they are for county government, state government and federal government offices when those posts are up for election.

The nonpartisan nature of municipal elections has “been like that as long as there has been a municipal election code” in state law, said Kevin Bommer, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League.

In Colorado, candidates for mayor, city council or town board seats “are nominated by citizens, and not political parties,” Bommer said in an email.

“There are no primaries or caucuses” similar to those that are part of the process of picking the final candidates to appear in elections for county, state legislative, state government or federal offices, Bommer noted in a Friday email. Municipal candidates have to collect nomination petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.

For cities and towns, therefore, “the political affiliation is not part of the process to get on the ballot, so there is no reason for it to be on the ballot,” Bommer said.

When asked about the rationale for partisan versus nonpartisan election contests, Bommer said. “I can’t think of any good arguments for political affiliation on municipal ballots. Most municipal issues that elected officials deal with are not partisan.”

He asked, for example, whether fixing a pothole is a Republican issue, or a Democratic issue.

“Partisanship doesn’t necessarily beget polarization,” Bommer said in a separate email. “However, the destructive tone that has become the norm in national politics can certainly have an impact at other levels of government. There just aren’t a lot of great examples of statesmanship at the national level anymore.”

Seats on Colorado’s local school boards are also filled in nonpartisan elections, another set of contests that many of the state’s voters are finding on their local ballots this year.

Susan Meek, director of strategic engagement and communications for the Colorado Association of School Boards, said the nonpartisan nature of that office also is set by state law, which she quoted in a Friday email, saying a “candidate for the office of school director shall not run as a candidate of any political party for that school directorship.”

The partisan-party-label prohibition applying to ballots for school board seats has existed in Colorado law since at least July 6, 1973, Meek said.

It was unclear Friday how long the nonpartisan-election requirement for municipal offices has been part of Colorado law, but Longmont city spokesman Rigo Leal and the City Attorney’s Office said in emails this past week it appears to have been incorporated into Longmont’s municipal charter when that charter was originally adopted and Longmont became a home-rule Colorado city in August 1961.

Longmont’s city charter states that “city elections shall be governed by the Colorado Municipal Election Law,”  and “elections shall be nonpartisan.”

Longmont City Clerk Dawn Quintana said a section of the Constitution of the State of Colorado about home rule for cities and towns also refers to local municipal elections “tending to be nonpartisan in character.”

The City Clerk’s Office’s webpage about the Nov. 2 election includes a sentence in bold-faced print advising readers, “Due to the nonpartisan nature of municipal elections, the City Clerk’s Office does not have any information regarding any candidates’ party affiliation.”

The Colorado Municipal League’s Bommer said other than a recent Denver Channel 9 news story inspired by an Aurora City Council candidate’s declaration during a debate that he was “the Democratic candidate” for that seat, “the only folks really talking about this” nonpartisan versus partisan municipal contests issue “are members of the media.”

Bommer said, “While municipal candidates and elected officials may certainly disclose their personal party affiliation, or have it discovered and announced by the media or private citizens, it really has very little place in municipal politics in determining who to vote for.

“The voter can learn about the candidate who has been nominated to appear on the ballot and determine the issues that he or she is for and against that will impact the direction of the municipality,” he said. “Inserting an ‘R,’ ‘D,’ ‘U’ or whatever after the person’s name on the ballot won’t tell them that, especially in some municipalities where they could be almost exclusively from one party under that system. For example, if a voter is in Boulder County and voting for up to three candidates out of six in a municipal election, how does party affiliation help if five of them are ‘D’?”

The National League of Cities, on one of that organization’s webpages that discusses partisan versus nonpartisan elections, states that proponents of nonpartisan ballots suggest that “political parties are irrelevant to providing services,” and “cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely.”

Proponents for partisan elections, according to the National League of Cities, argue “the absence of party labels confuses voters; a voter who must choose from among a group of candidates whom she knows nothing about will have no meaningful basis in casting a ballot. In the absence of a party ballot, voters will turn to whatever cue is available, which often turns out to be the ethnicity of a candidate’s name.”

The National League of Cities summary also states “nonpartisanship tends to produce elected officials more representative of the upper socioeconomic strata than of the general populace and aggravates the class bias in voting turnout, because in true nonpartisan systems there are no organizations of local party workers to bring lower-class citizens to the polls on election day.”

Bommer said the Colorado Municipal League has no position on the issue of partisan versus nonpartisan election contests because “it has never been presented as an issue on which to establish an official policy or position. It is accepted that the (municipal candidates) appear on the ballot without party affiliation, and I’m aware of no proposals to have it any other way in my 22 years with the League.”

, Colorado’s city council elections have long been nonpartisan , John Fryar , 2021-10-17 18:00:35 , Boulder Daily Camera , https://www.dailycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/DCC-L-BoulderVoting__TH10517.jpg.jpg?w=1400px&strip=all , https://www.dailycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/DCC-L-BoulderVoting__TH10517.jpg.jpg?w=1024&h=683 , [rule_{ruleNumber}] , [rule_{ruleNumber}_plain] , , , https://www.dailycamera.com/2021/10/17/colorados-city-council-elections-have-long-been-nonpartisan/ , https://www.dailycamera.com/2021/10/17/colorados-city-council-elections-have-long-been-nonpartisan/ , www.dailycamera.com , https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailycamera.com%2F2021%2F10%2F17%2Fcolorados-city-council-elections-have-long-been-nonpartisan%2F , Latest Headlines,Local News,News,Politics,2021 election,politics, #Colorados #city #council #elections #long #nonpartisan