Colorado Voting

Citizens Project v. City of Colorado Springs

Location: Colorado
Status: Ongoing
Last Update: June 4, 2024

What's at Stake

Colorado Springs’s unusually-timed elections suppress voter turnout—disproportionately, among the City’s Black and Hispanic population. This federal court lawsuit challenges the City’s election timing for violating our clients’ right to vote free from denial of abridgment on account of race under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In June 2024, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project joined a lawsuit challenging Colorado Springs’ unusual election timing, which violates many of its minority citizens’ rights. Along with the ACLU of Colorado and the Harvard Election Law Clinic, we represent Plaintiffs Citizens Project, Colorado Latinos Vote, the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region, and the Black/Latino Leadership Coalition.

Colorado Springs is an outlier among Colorado municipalities: it holds municipal elections in April of odd-numbered years. This unusual election timing has had a clear disparate impact on minority voters. While turnout drops generally in non-November elections, the drop is especially stark for Hispanic and Black voters. In the City’s April elections, non-white turnout is roughly half of white turnout. By contrast, in November elections, non-white turnout is roughly 80% of white turnout.

The disproportionate negative impact of these unusually timed municipal elections extends beyond voter participation. Hispanic and Black residents are also starkly underrepresented in the City’s government, and the City Council is consistently less responsive to their needs and interests. Their concerns about police violence, public health, education, housing, and city funding decisions have often been ignored.

A trial on the merits is scheduled for August 2024.

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