This election season, Telluride voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to cast their votes on Election Day. And then a week later, they’ll do it again.
Because of conflicting state and town rules that dictate when elections take place, there will be two Election Days in San Miguel County this November. The double election will only affect Town of Telluride voters; those who live outside of town boundaries will only vote in the coordinated election on Nov. 1. Telluride voters will vote in that election, and then a week later will vote in the town’s municipal election on Nov. 8.
The situation is highly unusual. San Miguel County Clerk Kathleen Erie punched some numbers and estimates that a double-Election Day won’t occur again until 2033. Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser said he hopes that it will never occur again — the town will likely insert language to its election rules that will prevent this in the future, he said.
“It’s crazy the way the whole thing worked out,” Fraser said. “We’ll deal with it so that it won’t happen this way again.”
This rare and complicated situation comes about because of conflicts between Telluride’s home rule charter and nuances in Colorado’s Constitution.
In 2008, the Town of Telluride adopted a rule to hold all its elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
The Colorado Constitution, meanwhile, identifies two kinds of elections. General elections, which very simply are those with partisan offices, must be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years.
But this year’s election features what are called revenue bills, and is therefore controlled by the TABOR amendment. And TABOR mandates that the election be held on the first Tuesday in November in odd years.
And this year, an odd year, the first of November is a Tuesday. Which this puts the town and state rules at odds with each other.
Thus, two elections.