#Water districts cancel elections routinely as candidate pools run dry — The #Loveland Reporter-Herald

Cache la Poudre River. Photo credit: Allen Best

Click the link to read the article on The Loveland Reporter-Herald website (Christopher Wood I):

Voters in the Central Weld County Water District could be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the electoral process for the district’s board of directors.

The district hasn’t conducted an election for 20 years.

Like two dozen other such water and water and sanitation districts in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties — along with many special districts overall — Central Weld routinely has applied a Colorado law that allows the quasi-municipal corporations to cancel elections if there are not more candidates than offices to be filled…

While Central Weld is a prominent example of canceled elections, it’s not alone. A BizWest review of election records filed with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for more than two dozen water and sanitation districts in the region found that 82% of scheduled elections — 111 out of 135 — were canceled since 2012 alone.

In addition to Central Weld, 12 districts have canceled every election since at least 2012, including the Baseline Water District, Brownsville Water and Sanitation District, East Boulder County Water District, the Galeton Water and Sanitation District, the Knollwood Metropolitan District, the Lake Eldora Water and Sanitation District, the Niwot Sanitation District, the North Carter Lake Water District, the Olde Stage Water District, the Pinewood Springs Water District, the South Fort Collins Sanitation District and the West Fort Collins Water District.

In fact, every regional water district has canceled one or more elections during that time span.

Critics of the sometimes opaque electoral process for special districts say that the process of notifying the public about upcoming elections — and the process to self-nominate for board seats — has been inadequate.

[SB21-262 Special District Transparency Concerning transparency for special districts], which passed the General Assembly in 2021 and was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis, included several changes to the election process for special districts, including water districts. For any district formed after Jan. 1, 2000, Calls for Nominations for board seats must be emailed to active registered electors, or mailed to those who lack email addresses. Public notices also must be filed in local newspapers.

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