Those in support of term limits for Boulder County council members aim to infringe on democracy and create a more complicated system where good representatives may not be able to hold office for extended periods of time.
The great nation we citizens all belong to was founded on one main idea; democracy. “We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” – Abraham Lincoln. Term limits infringe on democracy by not allowing citizens to elect who they want to represent them into government offices for an extended period of time.
In it’s truest form a democracy is a group or organization where each eligible member within the group is allotted one vote and the members may cast their allotted vote however they choose. The candidate with the majority of the votes wins the election and holds office until the next election.
By implementing term limits into our democratic government, we actually restrict democracy by not allowing members to select any candidate of their choosing. If this initiative were to pass in Boulder County, council members who have already served three terms in office or 12 years would no longer be eligible for reelection. This would prohibit good representatives from continuing their political career on the Boulder County council.
Those who advocate for Boulder County council member term limits also claim that term limits will increase diversity in the council and open up more spots for active political office seekers.
This however already happens naturally through democracy. If the electorates of a community decide that a council member is no longer doing a proficient job in office, when reelection comes around, the electorates vote a different legislator into office. If a legislator is serving the community well and they present their self as a better potential candidate than the other candidates, that legislator is reelected to serve another term. There are no rules against how many potential candidates may run so claiming that term limits will open up more spots for potential candidates is completely false. In the current system, every election season there are six spots up for grabs for Boulder County council. Current council members must run for reelection just like those who have never been elected to office before. Imposing term limits will have no effect whats so ever on how many “open spots” there will be on the council.
Almost the same case can be made about diversity. If term limits are imposed, there will be a constant cycle of legislators with little to no experience in office. This, in our opinion, creates less diversity and more complications. If there are no members on the council who have served before, or have only served one or two terms, it would create an abundance of inexperience and therefore less diversity. Diversity does not only include the ideals of the members but also their experiences.
In the last Boulder County council election 22 people ran for council and 60% of the elected members were first time council members. In the last 3 elections, first timers were the top vote receivers among all the candidates and in the past 49 years, only 6 members have been on the council for more than 12 years or 3 terms. Imposing these term limits will have no benefit to the community and will only cause more complications to our local government.
We believe that imposing term limits to Boulder County council members will restrict democracy by not allowing electorates to select any candidate of their choosing, decrease diversity in the council by not allowing senior members to continue their political career on the council, and have no effect on the number of “open spots” there is each election season for the council. For these reasons we believe there is strong enough evidence to reject the notion of imposing term limits on Boulder County council members and keep the current system unchanged.
- http://www.bouldercitizens.org/ – boulder citizens for term limits