The vote to remove the Stapleton name from the northeast Denver neighborhood’s founding document ends today, but the results likely won’t be public for a few weeks.
Master Community Association Executive Director Keven Burnett confirmed Stapleton property owners have until the end of the day Wednesday to return ballots asking if the name — which comes from former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan — should be removed from a section in the neighborhood’s Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions document created in 2001.
Jim Moore, owner of the accounting firm contracted to complete the ballot counting, James Moore & Associates, said he’s planning on having the results ready for a combined MCA Executive Board and Community Delegate meeting on Aug. 21.
Part of the meeting will be open to the public and Burnett said the referendum results will be made public at this time.
Moore said the lengthy counting process is due to the number of ballots. He’s been receiving ballot for weeks since voting started June 1. He won’t start tabulating them until Thursday after voting ends.
Participation was limited to property owners, including people who don’t live in the neighborhood or even the city and county limits. Renters in the neighborhood were not eligible to participate.
Burnett said did know the number of ballots that had been returned so far, only that up to 12,000 votes are possible in the neighborhood referendum (some people had multiple votes due to the amount of property owned). He has purposefully kept himself at arms length through the voting process to avoid any potential conflicts or accusations of tampering.
“We’ll see exactly what the community does think or does not think,” Burnett said.
Discussions over renaming the neighborhood have been ongoing for the past few years as some community members decried the origins of the name.
In addition to asking whether the name should be removed, the ballot asked whether to enact a one-time assessment to pay for a potential neighborhood rebranding and legal costs. It also asked whether the renaming process itself should be changed. Voters were allowed to include suggestions for new neighborhood names.
Burnett said the MCA’s office on the third floor at 7350 E. 29th Ave. in Stapleton will be open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday to allow folks to drop off ballots. Replacement ballots will also be available.