On Monday, 420,000 ballots will hit the U.S. Postal Service — ballots marked with the names of 52 candidates who together have attended scores of forums and raised millions of dollars in a boisterous fight about Denver’s future.
The mailing of ballots is the final step before voting begins in city elections, which culminate with Election Day on May 7. Ballots should arrive over the first few days of the week. Here is what you will see on them.
The Denver mayor’s race. Incumbent Michael Hancock faces five challengers on the ballot as he tries for a third and final term: Lisa Calderón, Stephan “Seku” Evans, Jamie Giellis, Kalyn Rose Heffernan and Penfield Tate. The mayor is the city’s chief executive; he or she sets the budget, appoints department leaders and holds veto power over the Denver City Council.
A district-level council race. Nine of the 11 district council members are seeking re-election, and most face challengers. Councilman Paul Lopez can’t run again because of term limits, while Councilman Rafael Espinoza has chosen not to run again. That means there will be at least two new council members. The council makes the city’s laws, approves or rejects contracts, makes decisions about land use and more.
The at-large council race. Two “at-large” council seats cover the whole city. Each voter can choose two candidates, and the top vote-getters will take the seats. Incumbents Robin Kniech and Debbie Ortega are seeking re-election against multiple challengers.
The city auditor’s race. Incumbent Timothy O’Brien is running unopposed. The auditor polices the finances and performance of city government and its contractors.
The city clerk’s race. Debra Johnson, the current clerk, is retiring, and three candidates are running to replace her. The clerk and recorder oversees elections and city records, including marriage licenses
All terms are four years.
Voters also will decide the fate of two ballot questions:
Initiative 300 would overturn the city’s camping ban, allowing people to use tents and other survival gear in public spaces, among other changes.
Initiative 301 would decriminalize possession of psychedelic mushrooms in Denver.
There also might be a second vote for some positions. In races where no candidate gets a majority, the city will hold a runoff vote between the top two candidates on June 4. (That doesn’t apply for the at-large race.)
Voters can return their ballots through the mail with 70 cents of postage or take them to one of 28 drop sites across the city, which don’t require postage. The ballots will be a single sheet printed on both sides.
Voters who prefer to vote in person or need a replacement ballot can visit one of seven vote centers. Locations are available at DenverVotes.org under the “Where to Vote” page.
Any Denver resident over 18 may vote once registered.
Residents can register online until April 29 through GoVoteColorado.com, or at a driver’s license facility or by mail. They can register up to or on Election Day at voter service and polling centers in Denver. There are numerous acceptable forms of ID, including student ID, passports, driver’s licenses and employee identification cards.