November 2019 Denver ballot guide: What you need to know about the four local measures
Yes, it’s time to vote again.
Ballots for the Nov. 5 election are out. Now it’s time for Denver to vote for Denver Public School Board members, two statewide ballot measures and four citywide measures.
This guide focuses on the four ballot measures appearing before Denver voters. Our colleagues at CPR News have helpful guides on the two statewide measures: Proposition CC, the one about taxes, and Proposition DD, the one about sports betting. For more information on the school board election, check out Chalkbeat’s coverage.
In Denver, ballot measures can be forwarded to voters by citizens (called initiated ordinances) or by the Denver City Council (called referred measures). This year, there are four ballot measures, all submitted by the Council.
Here’s what you need to know. (And for those of you straight-A students who’ve already voted — great job, sincerely — here’s a little something about WHY YOUR BALLOT IS SHOUTING AT YOU IN ALL CAPS.)
On establishing a transportation department
Referred Question 2A: a measure creating and establishing a city Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Denver Public Works currently oversees the way people move around the city.
A yes vote would break transportation out of Public Works and elevate it to a cabinet-level department. That could save an estimated $7 million annually, according to city documents. Also: the change would open the door for the city to operate its own transit system.
To learn more: Denver puts on its big-city pants, announces a transportation department that could supplement RTD (Denverite)
On officially making Denver Arts & Venues a stand-alone agency
Referred Question 2B: a measure Mayor Michael Hancock’s office called “charter cleanup” that would officially make Denver Arts and Venue its own stand-alone agency.
The agency technically falls under the Department of General Services but has been operating on its own for a few years. This measure would officially separate the two. Denver Arts & Venues operates places like Red Rocks, the Colorado Convention Center, the Denver Coliseum and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
On adding EMTs and shift commander ranks to the Denver Fire Department
Referred Question 2C: a measure to add emergency medical technicians and shift commanders to the city charter.
Denver Fire Department spokesperson Greg Pixley said this would allow the department a new rank below firefighters and provide a pathway to hire at least six EMTs to assist the department. DFD’s goal is to hire EMTs to provide service to more minor calls that still require some medical evaluation. It also formally adds a shift commander position, a position responsible for daily operations for the department’s fleet.
On residency requirements for Denver elected officials
Referred Question 2D: a measure asking whether elected officials should be required to live in Denver throughout their terms.
This rule change would affect the mayor, City Council members, the clerk and recorder, and the city auditor. Right now there’s nothing that says politicians have to live here throughout their terms (though they do have to live here to run for office). Question 2D could change that.
To learn more: City Council suggests people elected to represent Denver should live in Denver (Denverite)
Some dates and other details to keep in mind once your ballot is complete
You now have five more places to drop off ballots. Denver Elections installed five new 24-hour drop boxes last month, bringing the city’s total to 33. They opened this week. Remember that you can drop off ballots there or at voting centers throughout the city. The city’s mobile voting unit, Haul-N-Votes, will be at four locations starting in October.
The voting centers are scheduled to open Oct. 28. You can also vote and register to vote there.
Colorado has same-day voter registration, so you can register on Election Day and still submit your ballot. All ballots must be submitted before 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5.
This post has been updated with additional links.