Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Carla Madison District 8 seat: To win it, make sure 2,500 people know how to spell your name

It only seems like every resident of District 8 is running for Carla Madison's spot on Denver City Council.

But even with 39 candidates jumping into the write-in race for the seat, that represents less than .001 percent of the 47,265 eligible voters in the district.

To win, a candidate needs to get over 50 percent of the total votes cast. That's certain to be considerably lower than 47,265, since that number from the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office represents both active and inactive voters -- and the turnout for Denver's municipal election in May is always much lower than it is in November elections. A 10 percent turnout is more likely, and even then, any votes cast for the late Carla Madison -- whether in remembrance or ignorance -- will not be counted in the total.

Interestingly, the rules are different in the mayoral race. Any votes cast for Carol Boigon, who ended her candidacy on Tuesday, will be counted in the total votes cast for mayor; to win that race outright, a candidate must get over 50 percent of that total.

If the turnout is 10 percent In District 8, around 2,400 votes could wind up taking the seat -- which is why candidates will be banging on doors for the next twelve days, reaching out to as many of those eligible voters as they can. Still, getting 2,400 people to know your name, and then convincing them to write it correctly, or close enough, on a ballot, won't be easy.

If no one gets a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will move on to the June 7 runoff -- and more door-knocking.

If you live in the district, be prepared: All 39 candidates are likely to be out on Saturday, when there will be a memorial 55th birthday party for Madison at the Museum of Nature & Science.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Carla Madison: With city councilwoman's death, Denver is a little less colorful."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun