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Controversy Follows Term Limit Extension For El Paso DA

LAW WEEK COLORADO

DENVER — Voters in the 4th Judicial District approved a ballot measure that extends term limits for district attorneys there from two terms to three. But Colorado Springs activists claim the measure’s wording was intentionally misleading, and Law Week Colorado finds the language indeed was significantly different.

The measure in the 4th Judicial District, which includes El Paso and Teller counties, asked voters whether they wanted to impose a limit of three terms on DAs but failed to mention that there was already a limit of two terms. Measures were also passed in El Paso County extending limits for two other elected offices.

The El Paso County ballot read:

Shall the person elected to the office of District Attorney for the 4th Judicial District be limited to serving three (3) consecutive terms, a modification of the current limits permitted by Article XVIII, Section 11 of the Colorado Constitution?

Nearly 62 percent of El Paso County voters voted yes to approve the term-limit extension.

A ballot measure with a similar purpose but different wording failed by wide margins in the 8th Judicial District, which includes Larimer and Jackson counties.

The Larimer County measure read:

Shall the term limit of the district attorney of the eighth judicial district (Larimer and Jackson counties) be modified from two consecutive terms to three consecutive terms?

The measure failed with about 70 percent of voters giving a thumbs down.

Ballot measures in three rural districts proposed eliminating DA term limits entirely. All failed by wide margins.

The measure in the 11th Judicial District (Bent, Crowley and Otero counties) read:

Waiving term limits for the district attorney

Shall the term limits imposed by state law and in Article XVIII, Section 11(2), of the Colorado constitution on the office of the district attorney of the Eleventh Judicial District, be eliminated so as to permit an elected officeholder in that office to seek and, if the voters of the Eleventh Judicial District choose to re-elect that person to additional terms in office, to serve such terms.

The measure in the 13th Judicial District (Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Yuma, Washington, Kit Carson counties) read:

Shall term limits for the Office of District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District be eliminated?

The measure in the 16th Judicial District (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Park counties) read:

Shall term limits for the office of District Attorney for the 16th Judicial District be eliminated.

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