Union-backed candidates win school board seats in Denver

Ballot questions approved across the board by Denver voters

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Several ballot measures regarding city offices and policy were approved by Denver voters in the Nov. 5 election, as three union-backed candidates for Denver School Board — Scott Baldermann, Brad Laurvick and Tay Anderson — were voted into office.

The Denver Elections Division has counted 163,833 ballots, or about 39.2% of Denver's registered voters. In November 2017, the last off-year November election in Denver, 143,392 voters, turned in ballots.

Denver Elections Division staff that collected ballots at the drive-through drop-off in front of the City and County Building said the location had been quiet for the last few days before seeing a bump in people on the morning of Election Day. Mike Michalek, who has worked that particular location for the last four elections, said the busiest time is typically from 5-7 p.m. on Election Day.

Darby Flessner, 16, joined the staff at the drop-off, saying it was her first job. Although she can't legally vote yet, Flessner said she was interested in participating in the election in whatever way she could.

“I thought I would do whatever it takes since I'm not allowed to vote yet,” she said.

The only races on the ballot in Denver this year were for three school board positions — District 1, District 5, and an at-large position.

In District 1:

Scott Baldermann 47.2% (16,242 votes)

Diana Romero Campbell 31.1% (10,684 votes)

Radhika Nath 21.7% (7,468)

In District 5:

Brad Laurvick 35.4% (9,294 votes)

Julie Bañuelos 34.3% (8,983votes)

Tony Curcio 30.3% (7,944 votes)

At-large:

Tay Anderson 51% (67,051 votes)

Alexis Menocal Harrigan 36.8% (48,403 votes)

Natela Manuntseva 12.2% (16,015 votes)

Initial results on Election Day in Denver show voters approving all of the ballot measures and propositions on this year's ballot by wide margins.

For the statewide ballot items, Denverites voted yes on both Proposition CC and Proposition DD. With CC, the measure would have allowed the state government to keep tax revenue that it currently must give back to taxpayers on an annual basis. Denver voters approved the measure with 65.9% of the tally, 107,133 votes.

Proposition DD would legalize sports betting and allow the state to tax it to send millions of dollars to projects that would manage Colorado's water supply. Denver voters approved the measure with 63.6% of the tally,  102,987 votes.

Chris Lindgren, who turned in his ballot at the Washington Park Recreation Center on the afternoon of Election Day, said the most important issue on this ballot was Proposition CC, which he voted against. He said people need to be “using their free will” to speak out against issues they care about during elections. “People need to keep their voice,” he added.

For local initiatives, Denver voters approved four different ballot items. Referred Question 2A, which would establish a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, was approved by 75.3%, 118,321 votes. Referred Question 2B, which would make Denver Arts and Venues a stand-alone agency, was approved by 80.3%, 125,079 votes. Referred Question 2C, which will add shift commanders and emergency medical technicians for the Denver Fire Department to the city charter, was approved by 84.9%, 133,440 vote. Referred Question 2D, which would require elected Denver officials to live in the city throughout their term, was approved by 90.1%, 143,486 votes.

Although Vikki Otero said she felt that none of the ballot items impacted her this election, she still wanted to make sure she filled it out. She joined a steady stream of people dropping their ballots off at the end of the work day in Washington Park.

“Voting is the most basic way to get our voices heard,” she said. “It has to be something that you absolutely do.”

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