City of Aspen’s election date change could mean holiday campaigning
Aspen City Council on Monday initially signed off on an amendment to the election code in response to a potential change of the municipal election date.
Ballot Initiative 2A proposes to change the date when city voters elect new council members and a mayor from the first Tuesday in May to the first Tuesday in March.
Proponents of the citizen-led initiative argue that voter turnout will increase if the election is held during ski season when more people are in town.
If the ballot measure passes, the rules governing the election must change, specifically the dates regarding nominating petitions, write-in candidates and withdrawing from a race, according to City Clerk Linda Manning.
“Staff is recommending that petitions shall be filed no later than close of business on the 71st day prior to the election,” she wrote in a memo to council.
That timeframe would give candidates two fewer weeks to circulate petitions but give staff two more weeks to prepare for the election, Manning noted, adding that the timing would be in line with other communities in the state.
“Staff is still recommending this code change even if the election date change is not successful,” she wrote.
If there was a March 5 election, candidates could pick up their nominating petitions Dec. 4 and they would be due Dec. 26. A May 7 election would have candidates pick up petitions Feb. 6 and have them due Feb. 25.
The city’s election commission will meet prior to council’s second reading of the ordinance that would amend the election code.