Six candidates are competing for two seats on the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District board of directors.
The May 2 election will be the district’s first regular election in an odd-numbered year, after 2019 state legislation changed timelines to stagger county and special district elections.
The district's board election is accustomed to seeing very low voter turnout, with just over 1% of eligible voters casting ballots in 2022.
“With any election, your vote matters,” said Jennifer King, the designated election official at South Suburban. “We encourage people to participate in these elections because these are the decision-makers of what's going on in the district.”
South Suburban, which formed in 1959, is a regional provider of parks and recreation services. The special district manages recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, golf courses, playgrounds, parks and trails in its 46-square mile area, which includes portions of Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson Counties.
According to 2023 financial documents, in-district taxpayers pay about $8.43 in tax to the district per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The board of directors, made of five elected residents, adopts policies and governs the district, according to the district’s website. The executive director implements board policies and oversees operations.
Candidates are running for the elected seats of Jim Taylor and Ken Lucas, whose terms are ending in May. Hopefuls include Michael Edwards, John Priddy, Pam Eller, Elizabeth Watson, Alexis Barrere and Ken Lucas, who is running for re-election.
The South Suburban board meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 6 p.m. in the South Suburban Sports Complex at 4810 E. County Line Rd.
Am I eligible to vote?
To be eligible to vote in a South Suburban election, a person must be a registered voter in Colorado. In addition, they must reside within the district boundaries or own taxable property within the boundaries. A person who is married or in a civil union with a property owner in the district is also eligible.
The district’s boundaries expand southeast towards Lone Tree and northwest to Sheridan, crossing the lines of many municipalities and three counties.
To see who is eligible to vote, residents can check the county assessor’s website to see if they own taxable property within the district. Residents can also check their district resident information through the Secretary of State’s database at www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/ or by contacting their county clerk and recorder.
Apply for an absentee ballot
For this election, voters may vote absentee or in-person at a polling station on election day. Absentee voters must request a ballot by April 25.
“We do not mail ballots to everybody in the district, compared to the county election where they do, where they just automatically get a ballot,” King said. “If they want a ballot mailed to them, they have to apply for that.”
Absentee ballot applications must be physically signed by the applicant — no electronic signatures will be accepted. Applicants can email a scanned version or photograph of the document to Elections@ssprd.org or mail the application toSouth Suburban at 4810 E. County Line Road in Littleton.
King said the district doesn’t automatically mail ballots to all voters because of costs.
“Cost is a big factor on doing an all-mail ballot (election),” King said. “We would be mailing ballots to every resident and non-resident of the district — we have a lot of people who own property but don't live in the district, so we would be mailing ballots to each and every one of those individuals… It's a pretty significant cost.”
Requested absentee ballots will begin being mailed out on April 3, according to South Suburban’s website.
How to vote
Absentee voters can mail ballots to South Suburban Park and Recreation District at 4810 E. County Line Road in Littleton, CO 80126. To ensure votes are in on time, South Suburban asks residents to mail their ballots by April 28.
Alternatively, voters can drop off completed ballots at the Goodson Recreation Center or South Suburban Sports Complex. Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on May 2.
In-person voting will also be available at the Goodson Recreation Center in Centennial from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 2.
At 6 p.m. on April 12, South Suburban and the Littleton Business Chamber are holding a candidate forum at Shift Workspaces on Main Street, with a meet-and-greet hour preceding it.
There will also be a candidate forum at 10 a.m. on April 15, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties at the South Suburban Sports Complex.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with 2023 mill levy information.