Denver election guide: What you need to know before you vote Tuesday

Denver City and County Building
Posted at 3:15 PM, May 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 09:05:49-04

DENVER -- Tuesday is election day for the city and county Denver. The mayor’s seat is up for grabs as are numerous city council seats. There are also two controversial ballot initiatives for voters to decide on.

Mayor’s race:

There are six candidates running for mayor. If a candidate does not win with 50 percent of the vote plus one additional vote, the election will move to a runoff between the top vote earners, which is set for June 4.

Mayor Michael Hancock:

Mayor Hancock is running for a third and final time this election. The Mayor is touting his experience and accomplishments in his election bid.

Learn more about his campaign by clicking here.

Lisa Calderón:

Lisa Calderón is a full-time faculty member at Regis University, where she teaches criminal justice and sociology. Calderón has been a vocal critic of Mayor Hancock and his policies. She says she has fought for 30 years to bring more of a voice to women, people of color and the marginalized.

She is running on a platform pushing for more inclusion and equality.

To learn more about her campaign, click here.

Penfield Tate:

Penfield Tate is a Colorado native and attorney who specializes in employment claims and funding for city projects. He served under Governor Roy Romer and was once the Vice Chair of the Democratic party in Denver.

Tate says he wants to Denver to focus on balancing economic growth with sustainable development.

Learn about Tate's campaign here.

Stephan “Seku” Evans:

Stephan Evans is a Denver native who spent years working as a political organizer for the Denver chapter of the Black Panther Party. He’s also an entrepreneur; Evans started a floral business but retired in 2000.

Evans says he wants to stop gentrification in neighborhoods that are seeing a surge in housing prices.

Read more here.

Kalyn Rose Heffernan:

Kalyn Rose Heffernan was born and raised in Denver and says she wants to be the first person with disabilities to serve as mayor. Heffernan is a rapper who started the group Wheelchair Sports Camp, which has released several records.

Heffernan says she wants to represent marginalized and vulnerable communities and, as mayor, she would offer more access and accountability.

Learn more about Heffernan's campaign here.

Jamie Giellis:

Jamie Giellis is a former member of the Colorado Creative Services and the former president of the RiNo Art District. Giellis is also an entrepreneur and started her own company in 2010 that focused on planning consultancy.

Giellis is running on a platform of balanced growth that respects neighborhoods, affordable housing, and helping the homeless among other things.

Learn more about Giellis' campaign here.

City Council, auditor, clerk and recorder:

District council seats are also up for grabs as well as two of the council member at-large seats this election. Councilman Paul Lopez is term-limited and cannot run again while Councilman Rafael Espinoza has chosen not to run again, meaning at least two new faces will be representing Denver. The positions of auditor and clerk and recorder are also on the ballot. The candidates are:

- Timothy M. O'Brien

Clerk and Recorder:
- Peg Perl
- Paul D. López
- Sarah O. McCarthy

Council members At-Large:
- Jesse Lashawn Parris
- Johnny Hayes
- Deborah "Debbie" Ortega
- Tony Pigford
- Lynne Langdon
- Robin Kniech

District 1:
- Praj Kulkarni
- Victoria R. Aguilar
- Sabrina D'Agosta
- David Sabados
- Mike Somma
- Amanda Sandoval
- Scott Alan Durrah

District 2:
Kevin Flynn

District 3:
- Jamie Torres
- Veronica Barela
- Annie Martínez
- Raymond Montoya

District 4:
- Colleen Zahradnicek
- Kendra Black

District 5:
- Michele Fry
- Steve Replin
- Amanda Sawyer
- Mary Beth Susman

District 6:
- Paul Kashmann

District 7:
- Jolon Clark

District 8:
- Chris Herndon
- Patrick F. Thibault
- Miguel Adrian Ceballos-Ruiz
- LaMone Noles
- Erik Penn
- Blair Taylor

District 9:
- Jonathan Patrick Woodley
- Candi CdeBaca
- Albus Brooks
- David Oletski

District 10:
- Chris Hinds
- Tony Smith
- Wayne New
- Antonio A. Mendez

District 11:
- Christine M. Alonzo
- Stacie Gilmore

Initiative 300:

Initiative 300, also known as the "Right to Survive" initiative, asks voters whether people should be allowed to sleep in public spaces and set up tents. It also asks voters about allowing someone to live in their car.

The ballot question asks:

“Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt a measure that secures and enforces basic rights for all people within the jurisdiction of the City and County of Denver, including the right to rest and shelter oneself from the elements in a non-obstructive manner in outdoor public spaces, to eat, share accept or give free food in any public space where food is not prohibited, to occupy one's own legally parked motor vehicle, or occupy a legally parked motor vehicle belonging to another, with the owner's permission, and to have a right and expectation of privacy and safety of or in one's person and property?”

Supporters say this is a life-saving step to address the issue of homelessness in Denver. Critics say the language is too vague and would allow for homeless camps to be set up in public places.

Denver7 went 360 to present multiple perspectives on the issue. Read our story here.

Initiative 301:

Initiative 301 asks whether Denver should allow people to decriminalize the possession of psilocybin mushrooms so long as the owner is over the age of 21.

The ballot question asks:

“Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance to the Denver Revised Municipal Code that would make the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older the city's lowest law-enforcement priority, prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older, and establish the psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance?”

Supporters say the mushrooms are less harmful than cannabis, have positive effects on people dealing with addiction or mental health issues and that the city is spending too much money on enforcing current drug laws.

Critics say Denver shouldn’t become the testing ground for the legalization of another drug and that there are no significant long-term studies on the effects of these mushrooms on people.

Denver7 went 360 on the issue to present multiple perspectives about the initiative. Learn more about Initiative 301 here.

How to vote in Tuesday's municipal election

In order to vote in Tuesday's election, you must be a U.S. citizen and a Denver resident that is at least 18 years old. You also have to be registered to vote. Not sure on that last one? Click here to find out.

Once you've voted, you have two options to cast your ballot: You can either mail in your ballot with 70 cents of postage, or take it to one of the 28 drop sites across the city (this option does not require postage). PLEASE: Don't forget to sign the back of your ballot envelope before mailing it in or dropping it off.

If you would like to vote in person instead, you can visit one of the seven vote centers scattered across town. To find the one nearest you, go to and click under the “Where to Vote” page.