We Just Made History!

Every door, every phone call, every vote. It all mattered and was why we made it past the finish line. There is not doubt this was an historic election. Boulder became the first community to ever vote to break away from an investor owned utility for the purposes of pursuing more renewable energy. We will look back at this and know it was the moment when we did something enormous for our community, our children, and our planet.

This election proved that with enough committed and intelligent people prepared to fight for what’s right, a community can beat the odds. We went up against a million dollar campaign and some of the highest paid political consultants in the region. And in the end, we won.

None of this would have been possible without the committed volunteers and hardworking staff at New Era Colorado. If you’d like to see this work continue and to help us expand our proven volunteer-driven voter registration and engagement program all over the state for the 2012 election and beyond, consider making a tax deductible contribution today.

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From the Boulder Weekly:

Unofficial election results show that both Boulder municipalization ballot measures, 2B and 2C, have passed by a slim margin.

According to the Boulder County clerk and recorder’s office, 50.27 percent of the votes counted were in favor of 2B, with 49.73 percent opposed. The difference was 141 votes.

As for 2C, 51.78 percent were in favor and 48.22 percent were opposed.

“I think that was New Era’s doing,” newly re-elected Boulder City Council member Lisa Morzel said of the reason 2B and 2C passed. “They had dozens if not hundreds of people going door to door identifying people who hadn’t voted yet up until 10 ’til 7 last night. They were running ballots, figuring out who couldn’t get out and picking up their ballots to deliver them to the courthouse.”

“At the end of the day, what made the difference is a lot of passionate people doing this for the right reasons,” New Era Colorado Executive Director Steve Fenberg told Boulder Weekly. “the Xcel side had a lot of people knocking on doors, a lot of people making phone calls as well, like we did, but I think there’s a big difference when you have community volunteers doing it versus paid people that are doing it because it’s their job. And that’s not at all to knock those people that were doing that work, it’s just our people were working because they absolutely wanted to win this fight.”

Fenberg added that the outcome was decided in the final stretch of the campaign.

“Our get out the vote program the last three days, without a doubt, put us over the top,” he said. “We knocked on thousands of doors. Yesterday alone I think we made 9,000 phone calls.”

He also noted that the current vote numbers do not reflect a difference of less than one half of one percent, which would trigger a recount.

But that could change, since letters still must be sent to mail-in ballot voters who need to cure their signatures, or provide a photocopy of their ID for their votes to be counted. After that, an automatic recount would be done if the vote differential was 66 or less, according to the clerk and recorder’s office. The deadline for voters to provide their signature or photocopy of ID is 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9. The earliest possible date for a recount is Nov. 15, and election results must be certified by Nov. 18.

The measures deal with the city’s exploration of creating a municipal electric utility.

Issue 2B authorizes the city to increase the existing utility occupation tax by up to $1.9 million a year to plan for the utility and acquire “an existing electric distribution system,” presumably the one owned by Xcel. The tax expires no later than Dec. 31, 2017, and would end earlier if the city decides not to pursue municipalization or launches the utility before that date.

2C asked voters to give the city the authority to create the municipal light and power utility. It authorizes the city to create “programs and improvements that include, without limitation, generation plants, renewable energy, energy conservation and distribution systems, with all necessary powers appurtenant thereto.” The question explicitly states that Boulder will not charge rates exceeding Xcel’s rates at the time of acquisition. In addition, 2C says those rates must be enough to fund operating expenses and debt payments, plus an amount equal to 25 percent of the debt payments, and that the city will provide “reliability comparable to Xcel Energy.”

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