Denver Votes: Your Guide to 2022 Midterm Elections

Photo by Adrienne Thomas

Fall is upon us! After much anticipation, the Avs will hit the ice again for another incredible season, skiers and snowboarders are dusting off their gear, and it’s time to voice our votes in the 2022 General Election.

Colorado is home to one of the most robust election systems in the country, making the process more accessible and encouraging voter turnout. We compiled a nonpartisan, user-friendly voter guide for every Denver voter. Share with your friends and neighbors!

Election and Voting Timeline

October 17

Ballots mailed out this week
24-Hour Ballot drop-off boxes open
22-day Colorado residency deadline
Wellington Webb Municipal Building vote center opens

October 24

Phase 1 vote centers open

October 31

Phase 2 vote centers open 
Last day to return ballots via mail; use drop boxes after this date

November 4

Phase 3 vote centers open 

November 7

Phase 4 vote centers open 

November 8 

Last Day to Vote & Election Day
Mail ballots must be returned by 7 p.m., or
Voters must be in line by 7 p.m. to cast a ballot in person

November 16

Military & Overseas Deadline

Cure Deadline 

Voter Checklist

Check, Update or File Your Voter Registration

First, double-check your voter registration to make sure it’s up to date. You should be registered to vote at your current address. Additionally, you should check to make sure your voter registration is active — it may need to be reactivated if you moved in between elections! 

Keep An Eye Out For Your Ballot

Voters with active registrations will automatically receive a mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed starting October 17. If you prefer to vote in person, you can find information here.

Make a Plan To Vote 

Once you receive your mail-in ballot, it’s important to make a voting plan ahead of time. You should consider how you want to return your ballot: by mail or drop box? Would you rather vote in person? You’ll want to look up your polling location. Making a plan to vote ensures you can make it to the finish line and cast your ballot. Voters who mail in their ballot or return by drop box can sign up for BallotTrax to track their ballot.

Research Your Ballot and Vote!

Of course, you need to sit down and fill out your ballot. It’s a midterm year, so there are a lot of decisions to make. You may want to grab a snack. We included a nonpartisan ballot breakdown to help you make sense of the state’s complex political races and ballot questions in order to vote with confidence.

Voters with specific accessibility questions can find more information here. Colorado’s vote-by-mail system is also designed to facilitate an accessible voting experience. 

You can find a sample ballot with every race for voters in Denver County from the Denver Elections Division. Your exact ballot will depend on where you live in Denver.

Ballot Breakdown

Federal Offices

Joe O'dea
Photo courtesy of Joe O’Dea for Colorado

United States Senator

Democratic: Michael Bennet (Incumbent). Senator Michael Bennet is running for a third term in the U.S. Senate. Most recently, he worked to expand the Child Tax Credit, which passed through Congress in 2021. His current platform focuses on expanding job opportunities in Colorado, protecting public lands and air quality and addressing the role of special interest groups in campaign finance.

Republican: Joe O’Dea. O’Dea is the CEO of Concrete Express Inc., a Denver-based construction company. This is his first run for public office. His areas of focus include inflation, reducing the national debt and public safety. 

Unity: T.J. Cole. Cole is a founder and board member of five charter schools. This is his first run for public office. His platform focuses on climate change reform, addressing public health epidemics, and investing in arts and culture.

Libertarian: Brian Peotter. Peotter has a background in aerospace engineering and lives in Broomfield, CO. His legislative priorities include reproductive rights, adoption access, the war in Ukraine, election integrity and the Second Amendment.

Approval Voting: Frank Atwood. Atwood is a leader in the Approval Party, a political party dedicated to electoral reform. He adopted the Approval Party’s platform, which has two official positions: to replace our current voting system with an approval voting system, and use approval voting to reform gerrymandering. Atwood has made a preemptive commitment to limit his time in office to two terms. This is his first run for public office.

Voters may also write in a name for this race.

United States Congress, District 1

Democratic: Diana DeGette (Incumbent): Congresswoman Diana DeGette has served in Colorado Congressional District 1 since 1997. Her focus areas for 2022 include accessible healthcare, protecting natural resources and expanding reproductive rights. 

Republican: Jennifer Qualteri: Qualteri has a background in governmental accounting. Her positions include increasing school security systems to prevent school shootings, exploring carbon capture as a means of creating renewable energy and domestic animal protections.

Libertarian: John C. Kittleson: Kittleson does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

Voters may also write in a name for this race.

United States Congress, District 6

Democratic: Jason Crow (Incumbent). Congressman Jason Crow is a U.S. Army veteran running for a third congressional term. His areas of focus include reducing gun violence, attracting more well-paying jobs to Colorado, and campaign finance reform.

Republican: Steven Monahan. Monahan has experience as a U.S. Navy Aviator. His priorities include reducing the trade deficit, establishing national energy independence and balancing the federal budget.

Libertarian: Eric C.  Mulder is a U.S. Army veteran and a former member of the Aurora Veterans Affairs Commission. His priorities include cutting military spending in order to reduce the national deficit, lowering the cost of living, and decriminalizing substance use.

Voters may also write in a name for this race.

State Offices

Jena griswold
Photo courtesy of Jena for Colorado

Governor & Lieutenant Governor

Republican: Heidi Ganahl. Ganahl is a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. She is also the former founder and CEO of a pet care company. Her priorities include supporting law enforcement, lowering state taxes and fees to lower the cost of living and forest management as a form of wildfire prevention. Running Mate: Danny Moore.

Democrat: Jared Polis (Incumbent). Governor Jared Polis is running for his second term. During his first term, he prioritized securing free universal preschool and managed COVID-19 crisis management and relief across the state. His campaign priorities include moving Colorado towards 100% clean energy, tackling fentanyl trafficking and continuing initiatives to manage the cost of living. Running Mate: Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera.

Unity: Paul Noël Fiorino. Fiorino is a singer-songwriter and an advocate for arts and humanities. He has previously run for Denver Mayor, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor and U.S. Senate as the Unity candidate. His positions include environmental preservation, investing in the arts and health reforms. Running Mate: Cynthia Munhos de Aquino Sirianni.

American Constitution: Danielle Neuschwanger. Neuschwanger is the owner of Wild Buck Realty. Her policy positions include setting term limits, building energy independence and removing sanctuary cities and states. Running Mate: Darryl Gibbs.

Libertarian: Kevin Ruskusky. Ruskusky is a history teacher living in Denver. His positions include education reform and ending emergency government lockdowns. Running Mate: Michele Poague.

Secretary of State

Republican: Pam Anderson. Anderson is the former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder. Her main area of focus is improving Colorado’s election administration processes. 

Democratic: Jena Griswold (Incumbent). Secretary of State Jena Griswold is running for a second term. Her priorities include protecting voting rights for eligible residents, maintaining election security and cutting government fees for small businesses.

Unity: Gary Swing. Swing is an electoral reform advocate. His main proposal focuses on restructuring the makeup of Colorado’s state government.

Approval Voting: Jan Kok. Kok is a firmware engineer and an advocate for alternative voting methods.  reform advocate. She has adopted the Approval Voting platform, which includes implementing the approval voting method, and working to end gerrymandering.

American Constitution: Amanda Campbell. Campbell is a homeschooling mother. Her priorities include improving the process for businesses to file with the state and election security.

Libertarian: Bennett Rutledge. Rutledge is an IT professional and the former Treasury Secretary for the Libertarian Party of Arapahoe County. His positions focus on reforming electoral systems statewide. Rutledge also denies the legitimacy of the results of the 2020 general election.  

State Treasurer

Democratic: Dave Young (Incumbent). State Treasurer Dave Young is running for a second term. His priorities include transparent state investments, supporting small business development and strengthening the PERA retirement fund for first responders and teachers.

Republican: Lang Sias. Sias is a military veteran and a former Colorado State Representative. His areas of focus include maintaining the PERA retirement fund, lowering costs for small businesses and making responsible state investments.

Libertarian: Anthony J. Delgado. Delgado does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

Attorney General

Republican: John Kellner. Kellner is a Marine Corps Veteran and a prosecutor. His priorities include imposing stronger penalties for repeat offenders, bolstering support for police departments and addressing unemployment fraud. 

Democratic: Phil Weiser (Incumbent). Attorney General Phil Weiser is running for a second term. His positions focus on removing the state’s cash bail system, addressing fentanyl trafficking and working to protect Colorado water.

Libertarian: William F. Robinson III. Robinson does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

Voters may also write in a name for this race.

State Board of Education Member, At-Large

Democratic: Kathy Plomer. Plomer is President of the Adams 12 Board of Education. Her priorities include accountability and transparency among school district budgets and operations, raising salaries for teachers and implementing learning models based on student needs.

Republican: Dan Maloit. Maloit is a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces. His policy positions include updating COVID-19 policies, allowing parents to influence curriculum, and establishing a sense of normalcy for students who are back in person.

Libertarian: Ryan Van Gundy. Van Gundy is a U.S. Navy Veteran and a science teacher. His areas of focus include school choice, increased school safety and teacher retention.

Unity: Eric Bodenstab. Bodenstab is a former substitute teacher and an engineer. His positions are described as “Unity in Education” and “No Politics K-12”.

State Board of Education Member, District 6

Republican: Molly Lamar. Lamar is a former elementary school teacher and active community volunteer. Her priorities include building trust between parents, students and teachers, enhancing school security measures and implementing fiscal transparency in school districts.

Democratic: Rebecca McClellan (Incumbent). McClellan is running for a second term on the State Board of Education. Her policy priorities include raising literacy rates, pandemic recovery in schools and ensuring students have viable educational and career opportunities post-high school.

Regent of the University of Colorado, Congressional District 1

Republican: Amy Naes. Naes is a CU alumnus and senior assistant city and county attorney in Broomfield. Her priorities include minimizing tuition increases, creating proper support for student’s mental health and increasing accountability among the Board of Regents.

Democratic: Wanda L. James: James is a CU alumnus, Founder and CEO of dispensary Simply Pure, and a longtime advocate for decriminalizing cannabis in Colorado and nationwide. Her areas of focus include affordability, free speech and student achievement. 

Voters may also write in a name for this race.

State Senator, District 32

Democratic: Robert Rodriguez (Incumbent). State Senator Rodriguez is running for a second term. His priorities include restoring an affordable cost of living, lowering costs for small businesses and expanding access to healthcare.

Republican: Dean Flanders. Flanders does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Republican Party of Colorado.

State Senator, District 34

Democratic: Julie C. Gonzales

This race is uncontested.

State Representative, District 1

Republican: Guillermo Diaz. Diaz does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Republican Party of Colorado.

Democratic: Javier Mabrey. Mabrey is an eviction defense lawyer. His priorities include economic justice, affordable housing, and universal health care. 

Libertarian: Kyle Furey. Furey does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Libertarian Party of Colorado. He does have a personal Twitter account where he expresses political positions.

State Representative, District 2

Democratic: Steven Woodrow. State Representative Woodrow spent three legislative sessions representing House District 6, and is now running to serve the newly drawn House District 2. His priorities include affordable housing, gun violence prevention and statewide energy efficiency. 

Republican: Stephanie Wheeler. Wheeler is a small business owner. Her areas of focus include investing state funds into education, relying on the private sector and free market to balance the cost of living and supporting first responders.

Libertarian: Justin Savoy. Savoy does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

State Representative, District 3

Republican: Marla Fernandez. Fernandez is a homeschooling mother. Her areas of focus include energy security, reducing the size of state government and decreasing health care costs.

Democratic: Meg Froelich (Incumbent). State Representative Froelich is running for a third term. Her priorities include access to reproductive health care, economic security for women and public transit as a means of economic development. 

Libertarian: Clayton Casciato. Casciato does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

State Representative, District 4

Republican: Jack Daus. Daus works in the construction industry. His positions include school choice, reducing the cost of living and a new approach to mental health services in the state.

Democratic: Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (Incumbent). State Representative Gonzales-Gutierrez is running for a third term. Her priorities include pay equity, protecting public lands and expanding access to healthcare.

State Representative, District 5

Republican: Johnnie Johnson. Johnson has a background in radio and and media. His priorities include reducing business regulations and taxes, addressing the state’s homelessness crisis, and reduce fees at the DMV.

Democratic: Alex Valdez (Incumbent). State Representative Valdez is running for a third term. His areas of focus include LGBTQ+ rights, fair wages, and clean energy.

Unity: Troy Brekke. Brekke has a background in consulting. He has adopted the Unity Party platform, which emphasizes a health care tax deduction, protecting second amendment rights and protecting property owners’ rights.

State Representative, District 6

Democratic: Elisabeth Epps. Epps is the Founder and Executive Director of the Colorado Freedom Fund. Her priorities include environmental justice, gun violence prevention and housing first policies.

Republican: Donald D. Howell. Howell does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Republican Party of Colorado.

Voters may also write in a name for this race.

State Representative, District 7

Democratic: State Representative Jennifer Bacon (Incumbent)

This race is uncontested.

State Representative, District 8

Republican: Hilleary Waters. Waters has a background in newspaper publishing. Her areas of focus include the cost of living, a new approach for mitigating homelessness and lowering crime rates.

Democratic: Leslie Herod (Incumbent). State Representative Leslie Herod is running for a fourth term. Her priorities include breaking the cycle of poverty, expanding access to health care and funding for prevention services to lower crime rates.

State Representative, District 9

Democratic: Emily Sirota (Incumbent). State Representative Emily Sirota is running for a third term. Her priorities include expanding access to healthcare, workers’ rights and gun violence prevention.

Republican: Tom Cowhick. Cowhick does not have a public website or platform. His candidacy is registered with the Republican Party of Colorado.

Regional Transportation District Director, District B

There are no named candidates on the ballot. Voters may write in their choice.

Candidates who have publicly announced intent to run:

JoyAnn Ruscha (write-in).

Regional Transportation District Director, District C

There are no named candidates on the ballot. Voters may write in their choice.

Candidates who have publicly announced intent to run:

Michael Guzman (write-in).

Judicial Retention Questions

Denver voters will have the opportunity to vote on keeping judges in Colorado’s Court of Appeals and 2nd Judicial District. Rather than vote a candidate in, the ballot asks if a judge should keep their seat. 

Colorado Court of Appeals Judge

You can learn more about each judge and their performance through the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation.

District Court Judge, 2nd Judicial District

You can learn more about each judge and their performance through the Interactive Judicial Performance Evaluation Board.

State Ballot Measures

Photo by Lesia via Unsplash

Constitutional Amendments

Amendments require 55% of the vote to pass. They amend the state’s constitution. Proposed amendment descriptions, arguments for and arguments against are sourced from the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly. The full 2022 State Ballot Information Booklet can be found online.

If you’d like to know more about the financial implications of each at the state and local level, you can read fiscal impact statements prepared by Legislative Council staff.

You can also learn more about the main issue committees who support or oppose a ballot measure.

Amendment D: New 23rd District Judges

What The Amendment Proposes: In alignment with the recently created 23rd Judicial District, the amendment would allow the governor to reassign judges from the 18th Judicial District to the 23rd to serve the rest of their terms.

Argument For: Based on current state law, it’s unclear if proper seating of new judges in the 23rd Judicial District is ensured. Passing Amendment D can avoid the cost of potential litigation and create an efficient transition for the new district. Requiring the Governor to assign judges also prevents delays in casework and court proceedings.

Argument Against: The proposed reassignment process is not the only process allowed by state law. Thus, Amendment D is not the only way to properly fill judicial seats in the 23rd district. 

Fiscal Impact (Page 2 in English, página 40 en español)

Amendment E: Extend Homestead Extension to Gold Star Spouses

What The Amendment Proposes: If passed, the existing property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans would be extended. The extension includes the surviving spouse of a U.S. armed forces service member who either died in the line of duty, or to a veteran who died from a service-related injury or disease.

Estimates show there are approximately 490 surviving spouses who would be eligible for the exemption, if passed.

Arguments For: Amendment E allows the state to help Gold Star families whose spouses lost their lives in connection with military service. Current state law extends the homestead exemption to surviving spouses of disabled veterans, but not to surviving spouses of active military members who are killed while on duty. Thus, Amendment E addresses an inconsistency in the law.  

Arguments Against: Amendment E only reduces taxes for Gold Star spouses who own homes. Gold Star spouses who are unable to afford homeownership do not benefit from the measure. Additionally, the purpose of the existing homestead tax exemption for permanently disabled veterans is to address income limitations that result from disability status. Gold Star spouses may or may not be permanently disabled themselves, and may or may not face the same income limitations. 

Fiscal Impact (page 4 in English, página 42 en español)

Amendment F: Changes to Charitable Gaming Operations

What The Amendment Proposes: Reducing the minimum number of years a nonprofit must be in operation in Colorado to apply for a bingo-raffle license from five to three. It would authorize the state legislature to create a different requirement starting in 2025. It would allow a member of a nonprofit who is a bingo-raffle worker to receive compensation up to the minimum wage. 

The minimum wage cap would be in effect through June 30, 2024. After then, bingo-raffle workers can be paid any amount under agreement with the employing nonprofit.

Arguments For: Bingo-raffle games are an important fundraising tool for Colorado nonprofits. Allowing nonprofits to earn their gaming license sooner increases their fundraising capacity. Additionally, Amendment F is likely to incentivize bingo-raffle workers, which may allow nonprofits who operate more games, and raise more money.

Arguments Against: Allowing bingo-raffle workers to receive a wage to operate games may reduce the amount of money nonprofit organizations can dedicate to other overhead costs or program operation costs. Additionally, allowing more nonprofits to participate in bingo-raffle fundraisers will likely increase the number of nonprofits running them. This could create a form of competition and may result in nonprofits raising less funds.

Fiscal Impact (page 8 in English, página 46 en español)

Statutory Measures

Statutory measures require a simple majority to pass. Proposed statutory measure descriptions, arguments for and against are sourced from the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly. The full 2022 State Ballot Information Booklet can be found online.

If you’d like to know more about the financial implications of each, you can read fiscal impact statements prepared by Legislative Council staff.

Proposition FF: Healthy School Meals for All

What the Measure Proposes: Creating the Healthy School Meals for All program, which would provide access to free meals for all public school students in the state. To fund the program, Prop FF would increase taxes paid by households with an income of $300,000 or more, and use additional federal funding allocated for schools. An increase in state taxes would affect an estimated 113,988 tax returns, or 5% of returns filed in Colorado.

Additionally, starting in the 2024-2025 school year, the program will provide grant funding to school meal providers. Grant funding allows schools to:

  • Buy products grown, raised and processed in Colorado for school meals
  • Increase wages or provide stipends for employees who prepare and serve school meals 
  • Receive training, equipment and technical support through a nonprofit organization to help prepare healthy school meals.

Any of the state’s 183 school meal providers can participate in the program. Any student, regardless of family income, can receive a free meal through the program.

Arguments For: Research demonstrates that children experiencing hunger have lower grades than other students are more likely to have behavioral, emotional, mental and physical health issues. By providing school meals to all students, the measure ensures food security for students across the state.

Offering free meals supports families while many are managing a higher cost of living. The cost of school meals can be significant. Prop FF removes a financial burden for families. The existing income threshold for free meals doesn’t apply to all students who experience food insecurity. 

Arguments Against: Prop FF raises taxes on some households when the cost of living is also rising. Higher taxes result in less money for taxpayers to save or invest. That money is best used by taxpayers how they see fit. The state should not feed students who can afford to buy a school meal or bring food from home. Feeding children should be the responsibility of parents and caregivers, not the government. Prop FF requires funding, resources and oversight for a program not needed by all students. 

Fiscal Impact (page 11 in English, página 49 en español)

Proposition GG: Add Tax Information Table to Petitions and Ballots

What the Measure Proposes: Prop GG would require a tax information table to be included on petitions and ballots for any citizen-initiated measures that change the individual income tax rate. 

The table must list the average changes in taxes owed to taxpayers in eight specified income categories. Tax information tables must appear on petitions used to collect signatures for a proposed ballot measure, and appear on the ballot itself. Tax information tables must include:

  • Eight taxpayer income categories, defined in Prop GG
  • The current average income tax owed in each income category
  • The average income tax owed in each category if the tax measure were to pass
  • The difference between average tax owed before and after the rate change.  

An example of the tax information table can be found inside the 2022 State Ballot Information Book, in Table 1 at the top of page 21 in English, página 22 en español.

What We Currently Have: A tax information table is provided within statewide ballot information booklets, but not on the ballot. State law requires a brief fiscal (financial) summary to be included on petitions used to collect signatures for citizen-initiated ballot measures. 

Arguments For: Prop GG allows voters to see the impact of income tax rate changes with ease while signing a petition and marking their ballot. Voters are presented with information at the moment they are making their decision. 

Arguments Against: Prop GG adds unnecessary complexity and costs to statewide printed ballots, and duplicates information already provided to voters in the ballot information booklet. The ballot will become even longer and more expensive to produce. 

Fiscal Impact (page 18 in English, página 57 en español)

Proposition 121: State Income Tax Rate Reduction

What the Measure Proposes: Reducing the state income tax rate for individuals and corporations from 4.55% to 4.40%. The new rate would apply to the 2022 tax year and beyond.

The estimated impact of this change on individual income taxpayers can be found in Table 1 at the top of page 24 in English, página 25 en español.

Arguments For: The measure is a small change. According to the state’s forecasts, lowering the income tax rate won’t change the amount of money available for state spending for at least the next three years. 

Arguments Against: The majority of benefits from the measure will go to wealthy individuals and corporations. Individuals with an income of over $1 million, which represents less than 1% of taxpayers, will receive nearly half of the total tax savings from Prop 121. Additionally, the country is at risk of an economic recession. If we enter one, the state may face challenges in responding to the economic impact.

Fiscal Impact (page 20 in English, página 59 en español)

Proposition 122: Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances

What the Measure Proposes: 

  1. Allows people aged 21 and older to use five types of natural psychedelic substances. This includes two chemicals found in psychedelic mushrooms: psilocybin and psilocin, and three more plant-based psychedelic substances: ibogaine, mescaline and DMT. 
  2.  Those five psychedelic substances would be decriminalized under state law, allowing people 21 and over to grow, possess, share and use them.
  3. Personal use does NOT allow for sale of psychedelic substances under Prop 122.
  4. Prop 122 requires the state to establish a regulated system for licensed facilities to offer supervised use of psychedelic mushrooms for people 21 and older, starting in 2024. In 2026, the state is allowed to choose to expand the type of substances that can be used at facilities to include plant-based psychedelic substances.
  5. Prop 122 would allow local governments to regulate the time, place and operations of the facilities. Local governments would NOT be allowed to ban licensed facilities services and use of the approved substances. 
  6. The measure establishes penalties for underage use, possession and transportation of psychedelic substances. It creates penalties for people over 21 who share psychedelic substances with underage individuals. 

Arguments For: The FDA found that psychedelic mushrooms can offer significant support in treating depression more successfully than existing therapies. Increased access to natural psychedelic substances may help people struggling to find an effective treatment for mental health conditions.

Incarcerating people who use natural psychedelic substances doesn’t benefit society and costs taxpayers. Possession and use of these substances are nonviolent offenses that don’t have a public safety risk. People aged 21 and older should have access to these naturally occurring substances without facing criminal penalties.

Arguments Against: No currently approved therapies that use naturally occurring psychedelic substances. Effects can vary widely from person to person. Proposing to regulate the use of these substances suggests they offer legitimate treatment before they have received federal approval. 

By decriminalizing personal use, the underground market for psychedelic drugs may expand. It could provide more access to underage people, or expose people to substances that are laced with other drugs. This could create additional burdens on local governments. 

Fiscal Impact (page 22 in English, página 61 en español)

Proposition 123: Dedicate Revenue for Affordable Housing Programs

What the Measure Proposes:

  • Dedicates a portion of annual state income tax revenue for affordable housing programs, up to 0.1% of taxable income each year.
  • Make that money exempt for the state’s revenue limit. This reduces the amount of money collected above the limit that is returned to taxpayers, meaning it may reduce the amount of a taxpayer’s annual TABOR refund.
  • Establish eligible uses for this money:
    • Grants and loans to local governments and nonprofits to buy and preserve land for affordable housing development
    • Assistance to develop affordable, multi-family rental housing
    • Equity investments in affordable housing projects, including a program designed to share home equity with tenants
    • Homeownership programs and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers
    • A program designed to mitigate homelessness through providing rental assistance and eviction defense
    • Grants to increase the capacity of local government town and city planning departments.

Arguments For: Creates a source of money to address statewide housing issues without raising tax rates. Prop 123 gives local governments and communities the ability to allocate funds to their specific needs. Additionally, Colorado’s housing prices make it difficult for many households to afford rent or buy a home. These programs help residents enter the housing market in the short and long term.  

Arguments Against: Several of the programs outlined do not address the root cause of high housing costs. Funding the market may make the issue worse, and benefit landlords and developers. Additionally, the measure is unnecessary and will reduce Colorado taxpayers’ future TABOR refunds. The state already provides resources to support affordable housing development, which includes over $1 billion in federal stimulus funds allocated in recent years. 

Fiscal Impact (page 18 in English, página 67 en español)

Proposition 124: Increase Allowable Liquor Store Locations

What the Measure Proposes: Allow retail liquor stores to apply for additional locations on a phased-in basis, with no limit of the number of locations allowed after 2037.

Arguments For: Currently, grocery store chains that are licensed to sell alcohol are permitted many more locations than retail liquor stores. Retail liquor stores are currently limited to a total of four locations beginning in 2027. Prop 124 addresses a long-term competitive disadvantage for retail liquor chains in comparison to grocery store chains.

Arguments Against: Current law is designed to preserve competition between locally owned and retail chain liquor stores. Prop 124 creates a disadvantage for small, locally owned retail liquor stores that may not have the capacity or plans to expand, and primarily benefits large retail liquor store chains with more resources. 

Fiscal Impact (page 38 in English, página 72 en español)

Proposition 125: Allow Grocery and Convenience Stores to Sell Wine

What the Measure Proposes: Prop 125 would allow grocery and convenience stores that sell beer to also sell wine, by automatically converting beer retail licenses to beer and wine retail licenses. The measure would take effect in March 2023. 

Argument For: Creates added convenience for consumers to buy wine with their groceries. Grocery and convenience stores already provide a well-regulated environment to facilitate responsible alcohol sales.

Argument Against: Creates a disadvantage for small, locally owned liquor stores, while benefiting large national chains. 

Fiscal Impact (page 35 in English, página 74 en español)

Proposition 126: Third-Party Delivery of Alcohol Beverages

What the Measure Proposes: Prop 126 would allow third-party companies to deliver alcohol directly to customers from liquor-licensed businesses starting in March of 2023. It would also permanently allow takeout and delivery of alcohol from bars and restaurants. This law is currently scheduled to repeal in 2025.

Argument For: Increases customer convenience by aligning with the current option to have groceries and restaurant meals delivered. 

Argument Against: If passed, retailers are not liable for alcohol sales to minors once alcohol leaves their premises. Enforcement of third-party alcohol delivery laws is expected to be more difficult. 

Fiscal Impact (page 37 in English, página 76 en español)

City and County of Denver Ballot Questions

Denver Public Library, Central Library,
Denver Central Library

To take a look at each ballot measure in depth, including financial impact and public comment, check out Denver Election Division’s Local Ballot Issue Notice. 

Some measures contain public comments stating arguments for and against. They reflect the views of the proponents or opponents of each measure, and can be read inside the Local Ballot Issue Notice.

Referred Questions

Referred questions are proposals made by City Council that are presented to voters for approval.

Referred Question 2I: Denver Public Library Tax

Background: With 27 branches located throughout the city, Denver Public Library is one of the most robust publicly funded institutions in Denver. While the majority of their funding comes from the city’s budget allocation, more is needed.

What the Measure Proposes: Question 2I would increase property taxes by up to $36 million in 2023, and increase the city’s levy rate by $1.5 million each year after in order to generate funding for Denver Public Library. The tax rate increase would fund the library’s ability to:

  • Increased pay for staff making less than market wages
  • More technology to support library patrons who do not have their own internet access
  • High quality and expansion of programs and services for youth, BIPOC communities, immigrants and refugees
  • Providing additional resources for residents looking for employment
  • Expanded hours and days for library branches
  • Adding to the library’s collection of books, media and other popular items

The average Denver homeowner would pay $4.19 a month ($50.28 yearly) for a home with a value of $469,000. 

Referred Question 2J: Lift TABOR Limits on Climate Tax

Background: In 2020, Denver voters approved a 0.25% sales and use tax increase to establish the Climate Protection Fund Program.  In its first year of spending, the program worked to:

  • Invest $18 million in community solar projects
  • Create close to 1,000 roles in workforce development programs
  • Plant over 2,000 trees
  • Create a free shuttle running through Montbello to improve the neighborhood’s access to transit
  • Co-create climate and environmental justice solutions in partnership with historically underrepresented communities.
  • Retrofit the Forum Apartments into an all-electric property.

Where TABOR Comes In: The 0.25% tax increase was projected to raise $40 million, and raised $41.3 million. Due to the TABOR amendment in Colorado’s constitution, the city is required to refund the $1.3 million in excess funds, unless voters approve for the city to retain and spend them.

What the Measure Does: If passed, City Council would be able to retain and spend the remaining $1.3 million towards projects within the Climate Protection Fund Program. The city would also be able to continue collecting the annual 0.25% sales and use tax increase.

Referred Question 2K: Lift TABOR Limits on Homeless Resolution Tax

Background: In 2020, Denver voters approved an additional 0.25% sales and use tax to fund the Homelessness Resolution. In its first year of spending, the fund invested in:

  • Shelter services
  • Housing
  • Case management and support services
  • COVID-19 emergency response housing and shelter services

In Denver, chronic homelessness rose 266% from 2007-2021. Unsheltered homelessness spiked by 30% from 2021-2022, and first-time homelessness doubled between 2020-2021. 

Where TABOR Comes In: The 0.25% tax increase was projected to raise $40 million, and raised $41.3 million. Due to the TABOR amendment in Colorado’s constitution, the city is required to refund the $1.3 million in excess funds, unless voters approve for the city to retain and spend them.

What the Measure Does: If passed, City Council would be able to retain and spend the remaining $1.3 million towards projects within the Homelessness Resolution. The city would also be able to continue collecting the annual 0.25% sales and use tax increase.

Referred Question 2L: Change to Election Procedures

What the Measure Proposes: Question 2L would add a series of changes to the city’s election procedures. Some are changes to timelines, and others are designed to increase clarity within ballot measures. 

Major Changes Include:

  • If a City Council seat becomes vacant,  the Council must call for a special election to be held between 75-89 days after a declared vacancy.
  • Currently, a candidate running for City Council must be added to the ballot at least 55 days before the day of the election. 2L would increase the requirement to at least 75 days before. 
  • A citizen-led ballot initiative can only have one subject. The subject must be clear within the title.
  • Petitions for an initiated ordinance (a citizen-led ballot measure) can be filed anytime. 
  • The Clerk and Recorder must create a fair title for every ballot measure. The title needs to accurately express the intent and meaning of the measure.
  • If the petitioner’s committee (main proponents of the ballot measure) are unsatisfied with the designated title, they can make an appeal.

Initiated Ordinances

Initiated Ordinances are citizen-led initiatives that require a sufficient number of resident signatures to be placed on the ballot.

Initiated Ordinance 305 “No Eviction Without Representation”

Background: Eviction is a critical issue in Denver. An ordinance passed in Denver in 2021 does offer some legal support for eviction defense for residents. That program only applies to residents who make less than 80% of the area median income. Ordinance 305 would provide legal support to all renters facing eviction. No Eviction Without Representation, the leading proponent, found evidence that tenants who have legal representation when facing eviction are less likely to lose their homes.

What the Measure Proposes: Increasing taxes annually by $11,986,875.00 (full Fiscal Year increase), and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafter. The tax would be paid by landlords on each individual residential property held out for lease by $75 each year per property. The tax rate would increase each year at a rate that does not exceed the Colorado Consumer Price Index.

Use of Funds Collected:

  • Cover the administrative cost of the tax
  • Create, operate and fund a program to provide legal representation to tenants facing eviction
  • Provide a tenant’s legal services
  • Provide an assistance coordinator to administer the program
  • Create a tenants’ committee of seven members, each paid a $1000 annual stipend

Initiated Ordinance 306 “Waste No More”

Background: Colorado state law currently prohibits the city from collecting compost and recycling at large apartment and commercial buildings. Denver only provides recycling and compost services to private homes and small multifamily residences. Ordinance 306 is designed to divert landfill waste to recycling and composting streams.

89% of Denver’s solid waste is food and cement. “Waste No More” focuses on these two sources of waste.

What the Measure Proposes:

  • Ordinance 306 will require multifamily residences to offer recycling.
  • Commercial properties, public buildings and food waste producers will be required to provide recycling and composting services.
  • Retail food mobile license holders (i.e. food trucks) will be required to provide recycling and composting services. They will also be banned from improper disposal of fats, oils and grease
  • Special events license holders will be required to provide recycling and composting services and submit a waste management plan to the city.
  • All construction and demolition operators will be required to separate and recycle all recyclable materials and submit a recycling and reuse plan to the city.
  • Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will create rules and penalties for failure to comply.

Initiated Ordinance 307 “Denver Deserves Sidewalks”

Background: Denver’s sidewalks are in disarray. Current rules make adjacent property owners responsible for sidewalk construction and maintenance at an immense cost. People with disabilities, older adults and parents with children often struggle to move around parts of the city where sidewalks are missing, narrow or in poor condition. Low-income neighborhoods are most likely to have unsafe sidewalks. 

What the Measure Proposes:

  • Property owners will no longer be responsible for sidewalk maintenance and repair. The City would be responsible moving forward.
  • Property owners will pay an annual service charge to fund construction and maintenance of sidewalks. 
  • The service charge is based on the length of the sidewalk on or adjoining someone’s property. Rates will vary by property type. Rate discounts of 20% for low-income areas will be available.
  • Local streets and residential collector streets would have a rate of $2.15 per linear foot (i.e. feet measured by length) of sidewalk. 
  • Commercial arterials (i.e. Broadway, Speer Blvd) would have the highest rate of $3.58 per foot.
  • The fee is projected to generate $41 Million per year. It will fund a complete sidewalk network that connects every Denver neighborhood within nine years.

1 comment
  1. Thank you for this breakdown…so insanely helpful every single time. I can always do more research but this is a BEYOND helpful starting point. Just wanted to say thank you for the great work + for keeping Denver residents informed.

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