The Westminster City Council passed an ordinance on first reading that would compel landlords to provide tenants with voter registration information or pay a fine. The proposed prompted opposition from the apartment rental industry and others who said the duty of bolstering civic participation shouldn’t fall on the private sector.
The measure would require owners of the 11,300 licensed rental properties in Westminster to provide new tenants “instructions on how to register to vote in Colorado. In 2012, Madison, Wis., required landlords in the city to furnish voter registration information to new tenants, but the rule was overturned by the state’s legislature the next year. As a result, Madison has stopped enforcing its landlord-tenant voter registration rule.
Landlords could’ve been fined as much as $1,000 if they fail to provide voter registration instructions to new tenants. Mayor pro tem Faith Winter, who first pushed the idea, said the proposed rule would be an easy way to increase greater voter turnout. Fortunately on May 20 the City Council opted to table the ordinance and instead directed the City to send voter registration information to citizens on an annual basis. The Council was scheduled to take a final vote on the measure June 9.