In just 36 hours, it will all be over but the shouting. And the finger-pointing, of course.
The deadline to turn in a ballot in Denver's runoff municipal election is 7 p.m. June 4, and then the counting will commence on all those last-second votes in five Denver City Council races, as well as the Denver Clerk and Recorder contest and the increasingly ugly mayoral competition, a fight to the finish between upstart Jamie Giellis and two-term incumbent Michael Hancock.
And there's one more measure to consider (if you can find it in its lonely spot on the back of the ballot): Citizen-initiated Ordinance 302, which asks, "Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver enact a measure prohibiting the use of public monies, resources or fiscal guarantees in connection with any future Olympic Games, without the City first obtaining voter approval at a regularly scheduled municipal election or special election should the City decide to use public monies, resources, or guarantees for this purpose?"
In short, the measure calls for requiring that Denver residents be given a vote on whether they want public funds to be used for any future Olympics efforts. Even through all the mud-slinging of this election, an affirmative answer on that measure seems crystal-clear.
When Let Denver Vote turned in petitions to the Denver Elections Division on January 7, it came up a few valid signatures short. On February 1, organizers turned in another batch of petitions; although the effort came too late for the May 7 municipal election, the Let Denver Vote Citizens Initiative was automatically qualified for the next municipal election after that...which turned out to be the June 4 runoff. (Otherwise, it would have moved to the November 5 ballot.)
Richard Lamm, who pushed a successful statewide citizens' initiative to prohibit taxpayer money being used for the 1976 Winter Games and in the process launched his own successful gubernatorial campaign, thinks history could repeat itself this year. "It seems eminently reasonable to ask Denver voters to approve before Denver goes into the high/risk, high/cost Olympics," he says. "I urge a yes vote!"
That's not the only "yes" vote he's urging: Lamm and his wife, Dottie, have also endorsed Giellis.
As the past has proved, Coloradans value their right to vote on everything from whether the Olympics should be subsidized to just how late they should be allowed to vote, and for whom.
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Hancock wouldn't even be on the ballot if Denver voters hadn't approved changing the statewide term limits approved by Colorado voters in 1990, upping the number of possible terms for a Denver office from two to three in November 2000. In 2013, all-mail voting was instituted across Colorado, making it easier for residents to weigh in on any election including this runoff, the first involving a mayoral incumbent since 1995.
It's too late to mail your ballot now, but you can still turn it in at any of the approved voting centers listed on the Denver Elections Division website. That's also where you can find out how to vote if your ballot didn't arrive or you lost it.
And thanks to yet another push to make elections as inclusive as possible, even if you're not yet registered in Colorado, you can register on election day and still vote (find out more here).
Get in the game, make your vote count, and then get ready for the shouting.