Aurora voters opposing required charter change allowing people with felonies to run for local office

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AURORA | Preliminary results of the 2023 election showed Aurora voters opposing a proposed change to the city’s charter that would replace the city’s ban on people with any felony convictions running for City Council with a ban targeting convictions for crimes related to corruption.

Around 59.1% of voters had weighed in against the change, as of Friday.

A court previously ruled the city’s current ban is unconstitutional and thus unenforceable, while the state’s constitution disqualifies candidates who have been convicted of the crimes enumerated in the proposed ban, making Ballot Question 3A more or less a formality with no impact on city policy.

George Koumantakis, an attorney for the city, told the City Council during a meeting in June that the item had to go on the fall ballot for the city to comply with a district court order regarding the ban.

Aurora’s charter states in part that “a person who has been convicted of a felony shall not become a candidate for nor hold elective office.”

Candice Bailey — an Aurora activist leader who in 1999 was convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to two years in prison — challenged the charter rule last year with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In March, 18th Judicial District Judge John Scipione sided with Bailey and the ACLU, saying that generally disqualifying felons from holding office violated the state’s constitution.

The proposed charter change would have added language disqualifying candidates who have been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, perjury, solicitation of bribery or subornation of perjury, rather than all felons.

City spokesman Ryan Luby later wrote in an email that the city has not decided whether the matter would be brought to voters again.

“While Aurora voters have the sole authority to amend the city charter and may wish to keep unenforceable provisions in charter language, the court can place limits on how charter provisions are applied,” he wrote.

“As a result, even with a failed vote on 3A, the situation would remain unchanged. Only people convicted of embezzlement of public monies, bribery, perjury, solicitation of bribery, or subornation of perjury would be ineligible to hold public office.”

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Bob
Bob
1 month ago

This looks as a potential conundrum for the city. The state has their rule that the ACLU managed to intimidate, and a outside law firm Aurora hired to also convince the city council to not fight but go through the formality and just play nice and go along with it. That was easy enough to convince the council, no one there was interested in much of  a fight. The judge didn’t care, one way or the other as no objections from any on city council. Done deal. Now two times the citizens have told the city a home-rule  organization, by the way, they don’t want felons to be on council. What good is it to vote if a council can simply wash away the will of the voter? Well what’s the chance of the new council again bringing this out for another vote to set things right.A different outside law firm doing the same work could have a different conclusion of what’s the city charter limits are and should be.
It’s clear the author of this news story can smell blood in the water from Aurora voters. Did the council really hold that power?
  
 “It’s not yet clear what will happen if final election results show voters not approving the measure.

Lisa
Lisa
29 days ago

This is proof people do not research issues they are voting on. If you read anything about it you would vote yes.

Dean68
Dean68
28 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

 
Well 40 % @ (34,634) said Yes and 60% @ (51,457) said no. Did all these voters not- understand. The people that dd not understand were the city council that voted to change the ordinance 2 years ago. It’s pretty clear Aurora voters do not want felons running the city period. That includes me, I’m pretty sure I understand. This is the process we are to follow. 

Last edited 28 days ago by Dean68
Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
28 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

Or, they actually read about it, contrary to your claims, and decided to vote against it. Your historic determinism is giving you brain worms.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
29 days ago

Someone who’s been convicted of a violent crime clearly doesn’t have the self-control to hold public office, let alone one that’s responsible for the lives of nearly 400,000 people.