Clerk & Recorder Paul D. López, Chief Elections Official for the City and County of Denver and District 4 Councilmember Kendra Black, Chair of the Finance and Governance Committee are leading a process to modernize how issues and candidates get on the ballot in future elections. The committee will also have a representative from the office of Mayor Michael B. Hancock, City Councilmembers, experts in election law, representatives from petitioner’s committees and other community stakeholders. There will also be opportunities for public comment throughout the process.
“This will be the most comprehensive examination of the process for how questions are placed on Denver’s ballot in years – it’s time to tear the process down to the studs and rebuild it from the foundation up,” López said. “Denver is a growing city of more than three-quarters of a million people and more than a half-million registered voters, and the policies haven’t kept up with the times. This committee will tackle this fact head on.”
The committee will work on a variety of issues, including deadlines for submission and internal review of petitions; deadlines for Council-referred measures; ballot issue title setting; the City Council review and comment process that occurs before proposed citizen initiatives are submitted to the Office of the Clerk and Recorder; improving Denver’s ballot issue guide; the fiscal analyses conducted for referred and initiated questions and signature thresholds for petitions, including candidate petitions.
“There is no shortage of ballot measures on Denver’s recent ballots. However, the processes for citizen-initiated and council-referred measures are inconsistent and the timing is often condensed which can limit public engagement, discussion, and operational and fiscal analysis.” Councilmember Kendra Black said. “I’m pleased to help bring this group of experts and professionals together to examine our processes, identify challenges, look at best practices, and hear from community members to recommend opportunities for improvement ensuring a fair and open democratic process.”
The Committee is convening its first meeting Thursday, January 20, 2022, 2:30-4:30pm MST which will be available to view live on Zoom. https://denvergov-org.zoom.us/j/85284529577 All committee meetings will also be recorded and available for public view on the City’s website. The community is welcome to provide public comment at BAMC@denvergov.org.
Meetings will be held the third Thursday of the month through May 2022.
Committee members include: Hon. Kevin Flynn, Denver City Council District 2; Hon. Amanda Sawyer, Denver City Council District 5; David Broadwell, Esq., Former Assistant City Attorney; Michael Cummings, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Political Science at University of Colorado Denver; Bianka Emerson, Esq., Vice President Colorado Black Women for Political Action; Karen Goldman, Former Deputy City Clerk City of Aurora; Mark Grueskin, Esq., Shareholder Recht Kornfeld PC; Hon. Stephanie O’Malley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations Denver University, former Denver Clerk and Recorder; Gena Ozols, State Director, Colorado Labor Electoral Action Project, Skye Stuart, Office of Mayor Michael B. Hancock; Ean Thomas Tafoya, Community Activist, and Martha Tierney, Esq., Tierney Lawrence LLC.
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