Aurora ‘strong mayor’ initiative fails to make it to November ballot

Proponents of the initiative failed to deliver the number of signatures needed to get it on the ballot this year, but residents will still be able to vote on the issue in 2025.
2 min. read
Clouds reflected in the Aurora Municipal Center on March 10, 2021.
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Aurora voters will have to wait a little longer to decide on the structure of its local government.

An initiative that would have asked voters to approve a mayor-council government will not be on the ballot for this fall's local elections. The supporting campaign announced Friday that it would not be able to make a key deadline to turn in the petition.

"Regrettably, the citizens of Aurora will not have the opportunity to express their preference for a strong-mayor form of government and further restricting term limits in the upcoming November elections as a result of a legal technicalities and opposition tactics," Natela Manuntseva, spokesperson for the Term Limits & Empowering the Mayor for a Better Aurora campaign, wrote in a statement to various media outlets.

Petitions for the ballot initiatives to be on the November ballot must be certified by the Aurora City Clerk by Sept. 8. Those initiatives have to be finalized at least 30 days in advance.

The campaign was short of 181 signatures to make the ballot, according to The Sentinel. The city clerk found that the campaign only had 12,189 valid signatures.Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, who contributed to the campaign, released a statement expressing his disappointment.

"I'm disappointed that the ballot measure is not on the 2023 ballot to give the opportunity for voters to decide the issue, but I'm glad that it can be on the ballot  in 2025 without having to gather signatures again," Coffman said.

Had the initiative made it to the ballot and passed, Aurora would have become the fourth Colorado city to have a "strong mayor" government similar to Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. The city manager position would no longer exist and the mayor would make all of the important decisions such as hire and fire employees and veto ordinances from the city council.

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