Clerk López Makes Municipal Election Recommendations to City Council

Published on July 01, 2021

DENVER- Clerk and Recorder Paul D. López is recommending changes to Denver City Council to adjust a timing conflict between municipal law and state election law for future municipal elections. 

“Denver’s charter has become antiquated with the way modern elections are to be conducted, and that’s why I’m making two viable recommendations to Council to be placed on the November ballot for voters to consider,” says Clerk Paul López, Denver’s chief elections official. 

López recommends either moving the May municipal election to April to provide adequate time to get ballots to military and overseas voters prior to the June run-off election or implementing a ranked choice voting model to eliminate the need for a run-off election altogether.

“My office has analyzed and concluded that both models are viable options, and we are prepared to administer either option with the standard of excellence our office is known for,” said Clerk López.

Any charter changes to Denver’s municipal elections need to be passed by City Council and placed on the ballot for Denver voters to consider during the November 2 coordinated election.

To determine the recommendations, Clerk López convened a Charter Review Committee to study the issues and conducted a series of public meetings while providing the opportunity for public input.

Members of the Charter Review Committee included:

  • Michael Cummings Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Colorado Denver – Clerk Appointee
  • Hon. Kevin Flynn, Denver City Council District 2 – Council Appointee
  • Hon. Stacie Gilmore, City Council President, District 11 – Council Appointee
  • Mark Grueskin, Esq., Shareholder, Recht Kornfeld PC – Clerk Appointee
  • Hon. Stephanie O’Malley, Esq., Associate Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations, University of Denver – Clerk Appointee
  • Gena Ozols, Field Director, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights – Clerk Appointee 
  • Alan Salazar, Esq., Chief of Staff for Mayor Michael Hancock – Mayoral Appointee

The committee heard from a variety of experts on alternative voting methods to address the incompliance of the May municipal election and June run-off election. 
Possible solutions included: moving municipal elections to November or earlier in the spring; plurality or “first-past-the-post” voting, where whoever gets the most votes in May would automatically be elected; approval voting, where voters could vote for as many or as few candidates as they want to; or ranked choice voting, where voters rank their choice of candidates, resulting in an instant run-off. 

Clerk López also conducted extensive public outreach and engagement, with over 1,000 responses from Denver residents and community organizations. The office heard loud and clear that Denver residents want to keep municipal elections in the spring and continue to elect officials based on a majority vote (50 percent plus one).
“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for voters to decide on who is entrusted to lead our city,” concluded López.