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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Special District Election Bill Signed by the Governor

Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner

On February 18th, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law the much anticipated Local Government Election Code, legislatively known as HB-1164.  HB-1164 was crafted to resolve several inconsistencies between special district election requirements and the new election provisions created by the passage of HB-1303 last year.  HB-1164, codified at Section 1-13.5-101 et seq., C.R.S., applies to any district, business improvement district, Title 32 special district, authority or political subdivision of Colorado that is authorized by law to conduct an election.  It does not, however, apply to counties, school districts, RTD or municipalities.

Special districts that are unable to cancel their election will be permitted to follow one of the following election options: (1) hold a coordinated election with the county (primarily for November elections); (2) conduct a polling place election; or (3) carry out an independent mail ballot election.  In circumstances where a special district opts to proceed with a non-coordinated polling place or independent mail ballot election, the new Local Government Election Code will govern the operation of that election.

The option to conduct a polling place election provides special districts with the ability to return to the election process which was utilized prior to passage of HB-1303.  This new Local Government Election Code also eliminates the requirement, under HB-1303, that special districts participate in election service centers and requires that special districts maintain their own Permanent Absentee Voter (PAV) list.

Two additional changes worth noting are the elimination of the 30-day residency requirement for eligible electors under Title 32, and the discontinuation of the provisional ballot process.  Previously, under Section 32-1-103(5), C.R.S., one way a person could be deemed an eligible elector for purposes of a special district election was to be registered to vote and have resided within the district for 30 days prior to Election Day.  HB-1164 eliminates this residency requirement to make the Local Government Election Code consistent with HB-1303.

Special districts are well into the election process at this point, but should your district have any questions about the new election code or the May election, please contact one of our Government Practice Group attorneys.

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