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Back on track: Judge rules in Aurora’s favor on ballot initiative

Author: Adam McCoy - July 21, 2017 - Updated: July 21, 2017

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Aurora dodged an obstacle early this week in its epic quest to bring NASCAR-style motor sports to the city, prevailing in a court battle over a ballot question which could pave the way for a racetrack.

A 1999 city charter amendment, barring public funding for motor sport projects, has dogged Aurora’s racetrack ambitions for years. Last month, city officials agreed to seek voter approval via a ballot question to rollback the amendment. But Aurora residents challenged the question in court, arguing it violated state statutes requiring ballot initiatives to express a single subject, to avoid voter confusion, and contained catchphrases and slogans.

An Arapahoe County District Court judge dismissed the resident’s challenge on Monday. The court concluded:

Based on the legal and factual rulings set forth above, the Court DISMISSES the Petition on grounds that: (1) the Aurora Charter and ordinances require amendments to the Charter to contain a single subject; (2) the 6/19/17 Ordinance represent a single subject; (3) the Title accurately represents the single subject and primary intent of the Ordinance; and (4) the Title does not contain impermissible “catch phrases” or slogans.

Kristin Mallory, a member of resident group Aurora Residents for Transparency which brought the court challenge, told the Aurora Sentinel the group is disappointed in the ruling.

“While we are disappointed, the decision did reaffirm that ballot initiatives must be single subject,” Mallory told the Sentinel. “We simply disagree with the notion that deleting the prohibition of funds for a private industry, and the creation of the entertainment district is one issue.”

The court ruling will allow the initiative to remain on the ballot, which if approved, would allow for a motor sports facility and entertainment district on the outskirts of the city. History is not on Aurora’s side however, with the city twice unsuccessfully asking voters to strike the amendment.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.