City Council suggests people elected to represent Denver should live in Denver

It will ask voters to approve a rule that would force elected officials to live in the city throughout their tenures — or give up their posts.

Kenny Borrego casts his ballot outside of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library on Welton Street. Five Points, June 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kenny Borrego casts his ballot outside of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library on Welton Street. Five Points, June 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

The Denver City Council on Monday sent a question to the November ballot that will ask voters to approve new residency requirements for elected officials.

If the measure passes, politicians will have to live in Denver throughout their terms if they want to hold onto their seats. The rule change would affect the mayor, City Council members, clerk and recorder, and the auditor.

City Council members would have to remain in the districts that elected them, according to the bill language. That requirement would not apply to Denver’s two at-large Council seats.

Any elected officer who moves outside of the city or their council district will trigger a vacancy and a special election to fill the post (if a scheduled election is not imminent).

The initiative stems from last year, Councilman Kevin Flynn said during a committee meeting earlier this month. Council members were considering other election reforms when they realized candidates have residency requirements, but once they’re elected, no law stops them from moving elsewhere.

“It made sense to include not only the requirement that you must continue to reside in the city … but that should an elected official move from the city or their district, there would be an automatic vacancy in that office,” Flynn said.

A staffer with the City Attorney’s Office said the change would bring Denver in line with practices at the state and county level.

The council voted unanimously to approve the ballot initiative Monday.

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