Narrow Passage By 17 Votes Signals Serious Concerns with Energy Bans and Tabulation Process; Automatic Recount Likely
Nine days following the November 5 election, Broomfield city officials have announced that, in an unofficial count, Broomfield Question 300, a five-year ban on hydraulic fracturing and energy production, passed by a hair-thin margin of 17 votes. The outcome signifies that voters in Main Street Colorado communities remain highly suspect of extremist energy solutions and that a likely automatic recount will ensure following certification of the results.
"Main Street Coloradans are pushing back against fracking bans and standing up for sensible energy policy," said Don Beezley, Co-Chair of the Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition. "Broomfield voters demonstrated that supporters of responsible energy are poised to prevail in places with a representative composition of Colorado voters."
In a lengthy tabulation process concluded at approximately 10:00 p.m. MST this evening, BBEC representatives and other election watchers observed numerous irregularities in the handling of ballot challenges and verifications. Votes originally excluded from the Broomfield count on a challenge basis were reinstated while inconsistent application of Colorado’s new election law cast a taint on others. In prior special elections this year, parts of the new election law have been successfully challenged in court.
“The uncertainties around the Broomfield vote count and the new voter law make us question the accuracy of tonight’s outcome,” said BJ Nikkel. “We will vigorously review the entire process and look at all legal options for ensuring the integrity of this election.”
In September, the city of Broomfield passed a comprehensive energy regulation plan placing tight restrictions on oil and gas production. The plan evolved from successful collaboration between Broomfield's city council, the community and oil and gas producer Sovereign Energy. Question 300 could potentially overturn the agreement and undercut hundreds of hours of collaborative work that went into Broomfield’s energy plan.
"Even in Boulder, Lafayette and Fort Collins – predominantly liberal communities that have been the focus of anti-energy activists for several years - we found that citizens are open to getting the facts and recognize the important role that oil and natural gas plays in our lives," said BJ Nikkel, advisor to the energy plan campaigns. “The debate over maintaining a vibrant energy industry is just beginning.”