As Colorado Springs prepares for six City Council district seats to be decided in April, City Attorney Chris Melcher is urging Councilors to quickly pass a series of changes and clarifications to election laws.
"We should have this completed by the time the final [Council] redistricting map is completed, or the final redistricting is announced, so that when this new election season starts we are clear on what the current law is," Melcher said at Monday's informal City Council meeting.
Some highlights include: Candidates would need to disclose all campaign contributions, but only those $20 or more would require donors to disclose their names, addresses and employers. There would be no limits on contributions; donations from corporations, unions or other groups would be allowed.
The city clerk would be responsible for ensuring all forms are filled out correctly, and investigating any complaints or allegations. Candidates would have the chance to prove allegations wrong; if the clerk was not satisfied, she would forward the complaint to the city attorney.
Councilors seem largely receptive to the plan, though they want a few points clarified. Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin, for instance, wants to ensure that any complaints against a candidate are resolved within a week, rather than the 40 days Melcher is calling for.
"If you wait 40 days to render a decision, that will stick with those candidates through the campaign — the stigma will — rather than them being exonerated if that is an option," she notes.
Melcher says he will look into the issues.
The proposed tweaks were prompted by the 2011 city election cycle, which was plagued by confusion. The city plans to host a work session on them from 10:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 9. The first vote will likely take place Oct. 23.