Opinion: No election selections, but still here for you

News  /  Opinion

In case you hadn’t noticed, we here at Sixty35 take our elections pretty seriously. As the Colorado Springs Independent, we spent countless hours interviewing candidates, dissecting ballot questions and endorsing both issues and office seekers. In October, the Indy’s parent company (Colorado Publishing House) converted to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (Sixty35 Media), so by law we’re not permitted to pick favorites anymore. But, as much as ever, we are involved in getting you the election news you need to make an informed decision. 

Our editorial board has made the case before that municipal elections are never as sexy as their national counterparts; but local elections are the most likely to have a direct impact on your quality of life. And this year’s field of hopefuls chasing your vote in the April 4 Colorado Springs municipal election includes 12 mayoral candidates, 11 at-large City Council candidates and two District 3 candidates. There’s also a ballot issue that, if passed, would extend and make some small changes to the Trails, Open Space and Parks program. 

Turnout for municipal elections is traditionally pretty sad.

Those who are elected will have their work cut out for them. Incoming leadership will be part of the team that impacts utilities, annexation, access to city water, development, affordable and attainable housing, public safety and rising crime and traffic fatalities, homelessness, taxes, parks and open spaces, and so much more.

That’s why we at Sixty35 have partnered with the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region to bring the constituents of Colorado Springs our new Sixty35 Vote podcast, in conjunction with the League’s Making Democracy Work podcast. On March 8, our organization and LWVPPR will drop our podcast interviews (video and audio) with City Council and mayoral candidates, in which they explain their positions regarding the topics above.

We know all too well that turnout for municipal elections is traditionally pretty sad.

In the 2021 city elections, 83,404 ballots were cast — voter turnout of just under 27 percent. And that was a slide from the municipal elections immediately prior. The Indy reported that year that “[u]ltimately, the 2019 city election drew ballots from 37 percent of those who received them. In 2017, 31.7 percent of voters cast ballots in the city election, which involved 262,854 ballots.”

And this factoid from Fairvote.org paints a depressing picture of civic engagement across the country: “Voter turnout in the United States is much lower than in other countries, hovering around 60% in presidential elections and 40% in midterm election years. Turnout soars to 90% in countries with mandatory voting and reaches around 70% overall in developed countries.”

This editorial board has stressed the importance of voting in the Colorado Springs Indy, and we’ll continue to do it here — because if the numbers cited are any indication, our city (and country) is becoming less engaged. We get that actively participating in the process is hard work. And yes, we just had an election less than half a year ago. Who wants to do this all over again, only to have to do it all over — again?

We at Sixty35, however, have done the heavy lifting. You’ll just need to fire up your computer or phone, click, take notes and cast your ballot.

And if you really want to see how the sausage is made, in addition to our podcasts, LWVPPR will be hosting candidate forums leading up to the election. Check in at lwvppr.clubexpress.com and click “Event Calendar” for a schedule of events.

Don’t let others decide for you what your city will look like. Do your homework. Let us help. And most importantly, cast your ballot on or before April 4.

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