Our Voter Services Team has been busy! Read on to see what they’ve been up to and what’s coming soon.
Local Election Timing
In early May, Karen Wagner, Lynn Young and Sally Broste met with the City Clerk of Fort Collins and staff re the low voter turnout for the City Council and Mayoral election in April. One staff person said that “some” people are ok with low turnout as those 28% are “quality voters”. Upon questioning, we were told that those are the voters who follow and are concerned about City Council elections.
Thank you to the five League members who spoke during public comment at the Fort Collins City Council meeting on May 16, concerning the disappointing turnout in the April election. The League once again proposed that the Council election be moved to November in either even or odd-numbered years, when turnout is historically higher. After the comment period, the mayor recognized that we were there and had spoken two years ago. Gerry Horak, Mayor Pro Tem of Fort Collins, welcomed Leaguers attending the LWVCO state convention to Fort Collins, and during his remarks said that our voter turnout is small but it’s ok. He said we have a great city. We are planning follow-up meetings with City Council members to seeking next steps.
If you did not vote, please share with me why you did not vote. Are you OK with being called a less than “quality voter”? And send any suggestions you have for next steps. Contact Sally Broste (email@example.com )
Voter Registration for Individuals with Criminal Convictions
On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the voter services team hosted a presentation from Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (Denver) on the voting rights of citizens with criminal convictions. Thanks to everyone who attended. The League is working to expand voter registration events to under-represented voting groups. People with criminal convictions are one of our target groups.
Voter Registration Drives
It was pure pleasure to attend a naturalization ceremony on May 18 in Centennial, CO to witness the swearing in of 53 new United States citizens as the snow fell outside. According to Gerry Cummins, voter service chair for LWVCO, it costs about $1000 in filing fees to apply for U.S. citizenship; that does not include lawyer fees and doctor fees – both necessary to be successful. During the ceremony, candidates said, on average, that it took 10 years; one young man did it in 3 years because he served in the military, and the longest was 39 years.
New citizens were from every continent. Most had family and friends attending to take photos and celebrate. Smiles were abundant as were clothing and scarves in red, white and blue. New citizens were reminded that any of their children younger than 18 on that date are automatically new citizens – but the parent must fill out the paperwork in their packet.
We participated with Leaguers from Arapaho-Douglas County to register voters. Members of LWVLC have also attended the ceremony in Centennial on May 15, 25 and 30. Our League name and contact info for registering voters will be passed on to the USCIS person who handles new citizen ceremonies in northern Colorado.
Several registration drives are planned for the summer. Come join us and help register voters. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.