Group photo of Littleton neighbors saying NO to Question 300

Ballot Question 300 proposes Charter changes that will allow far fewer signatures than are currently required—lowering the signature requirement from 10% (current Charter rule) to just 5% of registered voters. Question 300 also forces the City to hold special election votes “off-cycle,” within 60-150 days is from the date of the petition. This means very low turnout of voters and less democratic participation in the decisions about our community. Q300 is an attempt to bypass the will of the people expressed through our November elections and our chosen representatives. Q300 is the definition of bad governance.

Let’s break this down:
The will of the people

That’s the purpose of elections. We, as citizens, work hard to support the election of council members whom we expect to be thoughtful, conscientious, and who will listen carefully to all citizens. When the complaints of a minority or a special interest drive city policies, especially in off-cycle elections, we believe it circumvents the will of the majority who may not be paying attention.

We believe electing representatives into the city council is a high-functioning form of representative government that is well established. We all had an opportunity during the last general election to choose people to represent us as a community. We believe those pushing Question 300, seeking lower signature requirements and snap ‘special elections,’ know that such changes will help special interest groups overstep the results of our general election voters.

Reducing the number of signatures needed and holding a special election outside of the regular election schedule circumvents the will of the people, allowing a vocal minority to shape city policies.

Referendums are often a way for a small set of voices to have an outsized say in the community. Referendums conducted in off-cycle, special elections end up costing taxpayers far more money, while also catching the average voter off-guard. Off-cycle elections means a substantially smaller voter turnout, which favors the people with the special interest. This vocal minority strongly turns out to vote, while the average Littleton voter doesn’t. Thus off-cycle elections enable a small group of people to shape and determine city policy without having to test it among the larger pool of residents.

When votes are held as part of the general election cycle they’re more democratic, in regards to the community as a whole, than those on a special election dates — and that’s precisely what Littleton’s current City Charter mandates. And we at Vibrant Littleton believe that our community should maintain this important charter protection. Saying No to Question 300 is pro-democracy.

Question 300 selectively omits the guard rails of state rules

Vibrant Littleton would like to point out that if consistency with Colorado state law is being sought then Question 300’s proposed language should require that signatures be collected from all four Littleton council districts. Our state referendum law requires that signatures be collected from all 64 of the state’s counties in order to ensure amendments to CO’s constitution are of statewide importance. Proponents of changing Littleton’s city charter have selectively left out this important guard rail.

Why is voting NO ON 300 important to Vibrant Littleton?

Contrary to proponent’s claims, Question 300’s charter changes will not help the voices of all Littleton voters be better represented. Instead, Question 300 is a tool used by a special interests to circumvent a more democratic way of running our city. Worse, it’s weakens our referendum laws in order to more easily rile up anger about development, traffic, new homes — using inflammatory, snap election campaigns to block housing and to preserve an expensive, environmentally-costly status quo.

We believe better community governance occurs through the give-and-take of legislative work by elected representatives, not when special interests push one-off ballot measures isolated from any consensus-building process. Vibrant Littleton believes Question 300 is poor governance. Question 300 makes it too easy to sidestep the democratic processes we have in place. Question 300 lacks the guard rails in Colorado statute that require signatures from all geographies (not just one neighborhood or county). Question 300 is an attempt by special interests to gain outsize influence in Littleton. We hope you’ll join us in saying “No” to Question 300 and defend our city charter from unneeded changes.