Recall election of Colorado city council member scheduled for July 20

A recall election to remove Jon Voelz from the Westminster City Council in Colorado is scheduled for July 20. Voelz first took office in 2019.

The recall effort began in Aug. 2020. Recall supporters allege that Voelz failed to support lower water and sewer rates in Westminster. One of the recall organizers, city resident Gary Shea, stated, “We’ve seen the water bills and some of them have just been so outrageous. A lot of the people that are upset with this are just disappointed that the Councilors that voted for this increase just were not listening to their citizens’ concerns.”

In response to the recall effort, Voelz said: “Westminster residents are being misled because I was not even on the City Council at the time of the vote on water rates that triggered the recall effort. […] I have never voted for a water rate increase during my time on Council. The only vote I have taken on water rates was for a zero increase to rates due to COVID-19.”

Recall supporters also attempted to recall Mayor Herb Atchison and councilors Anita Seitz and Kathryn Skulley. Atchinson resigned effective May 3 after the city clerk announced that enough signatures had been submitted for a recall election to be scheduled. The recall effort against Seitz and Skulley failed due to an insufficient number of signed petitions.

Voters will be asked to choose a candidate to succeed Voelz in the event that he is recalled. Kathleen Dodaro is running unopposed in the replacement race.

Recall supporters had 60 days to collect 6,098 signatures in order to put the recall on the ballot. They submitted 6,732 signatures on Oct. 30. The first batch of signatures was found invalid by City Clerk Michelle Parker, and recall organizers were given until Nov. 30 to gather a second round of signatures. On Dec. 7, Parker found the second round of signature submissions insufficient to move the recall efforts forward.

Adams County District Court Judge Kyle Seedorf ruled on April 18 that the petition signatures that had been previously disqualified had to be re-evaluated. The city clerk’s office announced on April 28 that there were sufficient signatures to trigger a recall election for Voelz.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This is the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Additional reading:

Political recall efforts, 2021

Recall campaigns in Colorado

Westminster, Colorado