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Initiative and Referendum



Article V of Chapter 54 of the City Code outlines the process of bringing legislation to the voters. The Aurora City Code creates deadlines and timing for the various actions to be taken in the initiative and referendum process. Please note that actual dates, timing, and the type of ordinance being proposed will determine when an initiative or referendum will be placed on a ballot for a vote by the registered electors. Therefore, it is important to consider all aspects of the process, such as the option for protests, the length of time it will take to gather signatures, etc.




Initiatives

The right of registered electors to originate legally permissible municipal legislation by obtaining signatures on a petition resulting in the enactment of an ordinance by the City Council or in a vote by the general electorate.

Petition Requirements
Petitions must be signed by registered electors in a number equal to at least 15% of the total votes cast in the last regular municipal election held by the city. 


Approval of Initiated Ordinance
If the petition meets the minimum requirements, the City Clerk will issue an initial certificate of sufficiency and the proposed ordinance is presented to City Council.

  • Adoption by City Council - Council may adopt the initiative ordinance without alteration by a majority vote of all members.
  • Adoption by Registered Electors - If it is not adopted without alteration by City Council, the City Clerk will submit the ordinance to a vote of the registered electors of the city. If a majority of the registered electors voting approve the initiated ordinance, it shall be adopted and take effect upon certification of the election results by the canvass board.


Referendums


The right of registered electors, within 30 days after final publication of an ordinance, and by obtaining signatures on a petition, to require the City Council to reconsider the ordinance or submit it to the electorate for a vote.

Petition Requirements
Must be signed by registered electors in a number equal to at least 10% of the total votes cast in the last regular municipal election held by the city.


Approval of Referendum Ordinance
If the petition meets the minimum requirements, the City Clerk will issue an initial certificate of sufficiency and the proposed ordinance is presented to City Council.

  • Adoption by City Council - Council may adopt the referendum ordinance without alteration by a majority vote of all members.
  • Adoption by Registered Electors - If it is not adopted without alteration by City Council, the City Clerk will submit the ordinance to a vote of the registered electors of the city. If a majority of the registered electors vote "yes", the ordinance shall be effective upon certification of the election results by the canvass board. If a majority of the registered electors vote "no" the ordinance shall be repealed in its entirety upon certification of the election results by the canvass board.


Charter Amendments


Petition Requirements
Petitions must be signed by registered electors in a number equal to:

  • For a special municipal election - At least ten percent of the registered electors of the municipality registered on the date of the last regular municipal election held by the City.
  • For a regular municipal election - At least five percent of the registered electors of the municipality registered on the date of the last regular municipal election held by the City.
Link to petition format requirements: Art. VI of Chapter 54 of this City Code Charter Amendment Initiatives
 

Approval of Charter Amendment Ordinances

  • If the petition meets the minimum requirements and the protest period has passed, the City Clerk will issue a final determination of sufficiency.
  • City Council submits the ordinance to a vote of the registered electors.
  • The ordinance will be adopted if a majority of the registered electors vote to approve the ordinance.

Referral by City Council

Powers of City Council
  • Submit any proposed or adopted ordinance or any question to a vote of the registered electors without the receipt of a petition.
  • Revive, repeal, amend, or pass any ordinance submitted by the Council upon its own initiative.
  • Initiative and referendum amendments are referred to the electors by resolution.
  • Adopt ordinances making technical amendments which do not change the intent of initiated or referred ordinances voted on by registered electors.
  • Resubmit to electoral vote any proposed ordinance reviving, repealing or amending an ordinance which has been adopted or rejected by electoral cote under either the initiative or referendum process.

Prohibited action by City Council

  • Revive, repeal, amend or pass any proposed ordinance adopted or rejected by electoral vote under either the initiative or referendum process.



Helpful Definitions - City Code Section 54-2 

Ballot issue - Citizen-initiated petition or legislatively referred measure which concerns local government matters such as taxes, debt, and other financial matters, pursuant to Section 20 of Article X of the State Constitution. Ballot issues may only be voted on at general elections held in November.
Ballot questionAny local government matter involving a citizen-initiated petition, including a petition to recall a public officeholder, or a legislatively referred measure, other than a ballot issue.
Referred measure - A ballot issue or ballot question placed on the ballot by the City Council for a vote by the eligible electors of the city.
General Election - Statewide election held on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November of each even-numbered years.
Regular Municipal Election - Election held on the first Tuesday in November in odd-numbered years.
Special Municipal Election - Held in conjunction with the General Election, except as otherwise provided in the City Charter.
Initial determination of sufficiency - Statement issued by the City Clerk as to whether the petitioners have submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures on a petition.
Final determination of sufficiency - Statement issued by the City Clerk following a protest hearing or the expiration of the time allowed for filing a protest, as to whether the petitioners have submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures on a petition.





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