Denver ballots arrived in mailboxes across town this past weekend -- and those that went to residents of District 8 still include the name of incumbent councilwoman Carla Madison, who was running unopposed when she passed away on April 5, after the ballots for this all mail-in election were printed. So now, residents of District 8 will choose from at least two dozen write-in candidates... and counting, since that field won't be set until the end of today.
The deadline for a write-in candidate to register with the Denver Elections Division is 6 p.m. Already, more than twenty people have submitted a notarized affidavit affirming that they meet the qualifications: a resident of Denver for two years, a resident of District 8 for one, and at least 25 years of age.
Unless one of those candidates gets more than 50 percent of the ballots cast for city council in District 8 (votes for Madison will not be counted in that total, as dictated by state law), the two top finishers will move on to a run-off race on June 17. On that date, voters citywide will be choosing between the two top vote-getters in the mayoral race -- unless one of those candidates manages to get more than 50 percent of the votes cast. But with ten candidates in that crowded race, a quick victory is unlikely.
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The outcome of the demolition derby in District 8 is less certain; a big get-out-the-vote campaign could take it the seat with a handful of votes. That's why longtime neighborhood activist Tom Morris, for one, is promising that if he's elected, he will resign -- in which case the city could hold a regular special election to select a Denver City Council representative, giving people more time to think... and campaign.
But judging from the crowded field, plenty of people have been thinking about making a run for this council seat for a while, and just didn't want to take on an incumbent as popular, and competent, as Madison.
Madison will be remembered on Saturday with a bike ride and ceremony at the Museum of Nature & Science. You can count on that being crowded, too.
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Carla Madison: With city councilwoman's death, Denver is a little less colorful."