October 31, 2009
In 2007, the City of Boulder had 48,267 registered voters. 15,928 ballots were received, a turnout of 33%. In 2008, local measures on the ballot along with state and national candidates received 45,777 Boulder votes (a 70% turnout). Would a 70% turnout in an “off-year” election change the outcome? Certainly. Boulder, along with most local governments and special districts, holds elections in odd years because of a belief that during even year general elections many voters cast “poorly-informed” local votes. Ouch.
2007’s low turnout elected our current city council. The top vote getter received 9,815 votes (10.4%) [10.4% of a 33% turnout, I should add]. The lowest vote total for a successful candidate was 6,836 (7.2%/33%). By comparison, top city vote getters since 2001 garnered between 12,544 and 14,091 votes and the lowest “winner” prior to 2007 received 8,939 votes (11.4%/40% turnout).
With such small percentages of such pitiful turnouts, it’s a wonder any elected official in Boulder has the chutzpa to claim to represent “a vast majority of Boulder citizens.” If tamping vote totals down through the use of off-year elections is a conscious strategy, the best response to the tactic is to turn out in droves! I hope we do . . .
As of 9:00am Friday, 6,939 Boulder ballots are in (10.8% turnout). Lost ballots can be replaced, but all ballots must be received by no later than 7:00pm on November 3rd (Tuesday night). You should hand deliver your ballot to 1750 33rd Street (between Walnut and Arapahoe). Carpe diem!