With less than a week to go before the runoff election day, one candidate may have to replace her campaign signs.
Multiple banners and lawn signs advertising Veronica Barela for the District 3 seat of Denver City Council do not indicate who paid for them. City campaign finance law requires candidates or political committees to disclose who paid for advertising or signage by including a "Paid for" label on the adverts. Westword found unlabeled banners at West Tenth Avenue and Kalamath Street and West Tenth and Santa Fe Drive, as well as unlabeled yard signs at Tenth and Knox Court and Sixth Avenue and Knox.
Denver Elections Division says that it received a phone call about Barela's out-of-compliance signage, but that it needs to get a formal complaint via an online form to start an investigation.
Barela said her campaign would have to confirm the allegations but calls any violations "a campaign oversight."
"We had many rounds of printing, and it's possible it was missed. Our campaign will correct this by labeling them immediately," Barela wrote to Westword in an email.
A community organizer planning to focus on housing and gentrification, Barela is running against Jamie Torres, the deputy director of Denver's Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships and director of the city's Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs.
“It’s incredibly important to disclose to voters who is spending money on our elections and what that money is being spent on to ensure a transparent and accountable campaign finance system," the Torres campaign said in a statement.
A resident of District 3 sent Westword an image of incorrectly labeled mailers they had received that advocate for Barela. One postcard has "Paid for by Friends of Barela" written on it, and another shows "Provided by Friends to Elect Veronica Barela City Council District 3."
Denver Elections Division has records showing only one registered committee for Barela: Veronica Barela Dist. 3.
One mailer viewed by Westword did include "Paid for by Barela for District 3."
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"We are not aware of other committees. You are correct that Barela for 3 is our committee name and present on all mailers we sent using our campaign funds," Barela wrote.
If a formal complaint is submitted and the Barela campaign admits fault, Denver Elections Division can fine the campaign for the violations. The campaign denying any wrongdoing would trigger a formal administrative hearing process.
Barela and Torres are battling to replace Paul Lopez as the District 3 city councilperson. In the first round of voting, Torres received 40.23 percent of votes, while Barela received 36.33 percent, a difference of 261 votes. The other two candidates in the District 3 election, Raymond Montoya and Annie Martinez, have endorsed Barela in the runoff.
Lopez, who termed out and supports Torres, is currently pushing to become Denver's Clerk and Recorder in a runoff with Peg Perl. Ballots for the runoff election are due by 7 p.m. on June 4.