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League of Women Voters

Colorado Citizen 
Observers Project

The Problem: Hundreds of government meetings happen each month in your city and county. Many go unnoticed by the media and public, but critical decisions are made that impact your quality of life.

A Solution: Create a new, independent public record by training and paying people to attend meetings, then publish the results. 

About The Project

The Colorado Citizen Observers Project seeks to create a new path for civic engagement using the power of people and mobile devices. We will train people to attend, observe, and record government meetings so we can share original, accurate, non-partisan documentation of the proceedings with the public and news media. The project is being implemented by a coalition of partners led by the League of Women Voters of Larimer County. Our work is funded by the Gates Family Foundation, and supported by the Colorado Media ProjectOpen Media Foundation, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, the Colorado Press AssociationColorado State University Center for Public Deliberation and


This project is an extension of the Observer Corps, a longstanding program of the League of Women Voters. Citizen Observers of Larimer County were developed and managed by professional journalist January Jones with leadership of LWV volunteers Jane Hamburger and Sonia Koetting. LWV offers deep appreciation to many individuals for their help, including Samantha Driggers, Alfonso Gonzales, Melissa Davis, Jeff Roberts, Max Resnik, Jupe Herrick, and more. The participation of our nonprofit partner groups has been so valuable in establishing this civic project. We look forward to its expansion in Colorado.  


Our goals are to build lasting community partnerships, increase government transparency, and boost civic engagement. We seek to include diverse citizens as we share actionable information for the rural communities and small cities of Larimer County, and eventually, other Colorado communities served by the League of Women Voters.

Project Focus

A foundational goal of the Observers project is to learn what it takes to establish a scalable and replicable Citizen Observers program in Colorado that works in partnership with local media, higher education, and community partners to fill critical news gaps and meet community information needs. 

Becoming a Member of the League of Women Voters

What Do Citizen Observers Do? 

​We've created a range of potential roles that people can play in the Citizen Observer program. Our goal is to get non-partisan, accurate reports from meetings. Beyond writing a meeting summary, this might include live tweeting or recording video/audio of a meeting. To accommodate skills sets and availability of working people, we have options for remote and in-person participation. We will match Citizen Observers with the best fit for their skills, interests, and availability.

Which Meetings Will Be Covered?

Of hundreds of meetings taking place every month, we will focus on those that match local LWV study group topics and the interests of individual Observers. We are open to suggestions from the public about meetings where our presence could be helpful. Have a meeting to suggest? Submit a request below. We aim to report meetings from municipalities, town boards, school districts, police departments, and other community meetings. 

We Invite Your Participation

​This pilot project seeks collaborators who can inform which meetings we cover, what information we produce, and how it's shared. Are you involved with a community group who is interested? Do you work in media? Do you have an academic interest in what we are doing?

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