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League of Women Voters of Boulder County
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy
Serving the People of Boulder County, Colorado

News / Articles

Elections Potpourri

Celeste Landry | Published on 3/12/2023

Elections Potpourri

By Celeste Landry


Voting Methods Team News

  • We have updated our Single-Winner Voting Methods pamphlet.  Look for the 2023 version on our website library and at in-person LWV.
  • We sent a letter to the Boulder City Council ahead of their annual retreat.  We asked for the creation of an Elections Working Group and suggested that the group study and make recommendations in several areas, including changing the election of council members to ensure proportional representation.
  • LWVUS is sending a representative to attend a Proportional Voting policy conference at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  We reached out to the contact named in the Jan 26th LWVUS League Update to find out how our Voting Methods Team can be involved.

Petition Efforts to Revert to a Former Type of Election

  • A petition effort for a special election to overturn Pueblo’s 2017 adoption of a strong, elected mayor has a March 1 deadline to collect 3,768 signatures.  This effort may be of particular interest to people in the city of Boulder who, in 2020, voted to directly elect its “weak mayor” using Instant-Runoff (ranked) Voting beginning in 2023.
  • Alaskans for Honest Elections received approval to circulate their initiative petition to revert to a party primary system with Plurality voting a little over two years after Alaskans approved Measure 2 to combine campaign finance reform with a new blanket (aka jungle) Plurality primary with the top 4 vote-getters proceeding to an Instant-Runoff (ranked) Voting general election.  In addition to commonly heard criticisms of IRV, the petitioners argue that the 2022 general election had the lowest turnout in 12 years and more outside money than ever before.

Follow-Up to Some Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) Elections

  • An Oakland, CA school board contest’s certified results were “overturned” when the publicly available cast vote records (CVRs) were examined independently.  News articles stated that the problem was voters not naming a first choice on their Instant-Runoff (ranked) Voting ballot, but a person at the national RCV Resource Center told an LWVBC member that the tabulation software used did not tally write-ins in the first-choice slot, resulting in eliminating the actual eventual winner instead of the write-in candidates.  Meanwhile, the candidate who was incorrectly declared the winner has been sworn into office; the Alameda County Courts will rule on a lawsuit about the certified results.
  • In November Seattle voters barely approved changing from Plurality in Prop 1, but in the second part of the ballot question, they overwhelming supported Prop 1B to adopt Bottoms-Up RCV – a blanket (aka jungle) Ranked-Choice Voting primary where the lowest vote-getters are eliminated round by round until only two candidates remain who go on to the general election.  There will be 2 more all-Plurality elections before Seattle implements a Bottoms-Up RCV primary in 2027.
  • Voting Methods Team co-leader Jeanne Clelland has looked at the ballot data for the August 2022 Alaska special congressional Final-Four Instant-Runoff (ranked) Voting election.  (See photo of sample ballot below.)  She was surprised at the many ways that voters invalidated their ballot by overvoting (ranking 2 candidates at the same level) or by skipping two consecutive rankings.  Fortunately, Alaskans improved their invalid ballot rate to 0.83% in the November 2022 congressional IRV election compared to 1.93% in the Aug 2022 special congressional IRV election.

This is a sample IRV-RCV ballot from the Alaska Division of Elections. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media) Source:

Growing Interest in Minor Political Parties

  • The No Labels Party collected the requisite 10,000 signatures of Colorado electors and is now a minor party in Colorado.  Colorado’s other minor parties are American Constitution Party, Approval Voting Party, Green Party of Colorado, the Libertarian Party of Colorado, and the Unity Party of Colorado.
  • The Forward Party is currently collecting signatures to become a minor political party in CO.

Boulder County-Related House District (HD) Vacancy Committee Selections

  • Lorena Garcia was chosen by a Democratic vacancy committee on Jan 3rd to fill the HD35 seat after state representative Adrienne Benavidez won reelection but then resigned.  Lorena Garcia is the daughter of BVSD school board member Richard Garcia and ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate Democratic nomination in 2020.
  • Boulder County’s Tracey Bernett resigned as the HD12 state representative on Jan 8th, the day before Colorado’s legislature convened for this year’s session.  A vacancy committee of 53 Democrats chose Louisville city council member Kyle Brown to fill the vacancy on Jan 28th.  The other candidates for the HD12 seat were former congressman David Skaggs, retired longtime city of Boulder employee Alfredo Alvarado, Superior town trustee Jenn Kaaoush and former state rep Benavidez’s aide Cynthia Martinez.