Colorado’s 2019 election results are rolling in. As previewed in our previous client alert and podcast on this odd-year election, Colorado voters selected local government officials and school board members, considered changes to home-rule city charters, decided tax measures and determined whether to legalize sports betting.
Colorado voters statewide decided two ballot measures that were referred by the state legislature. Proposition CC, which asked permission for the state government to keep the revenues it collects above spending limits imposed by Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) rather than refunding those revenues to taxpayers, failed by a wide margin (54.09% against; 45.91% for). Voters soundly rejected the legislature’s request to retain revenues to fund transportation and education.
Proposition DD, however, was too close to call on Election Day. Voters were nearly evenly divided on whether to legalize sports betting and use the tax proceeds to fund water conservation programs outlined in the state’s water plan. However, with all votes from all counties now reporting, votes in favor outnumber those against by approximately 2 percentage points (51.15% for; 48.85% against). Most news outlets are comfortable reporting that Proposition DD has passed. Based on the latest results from the Secretary of State’s office, an automatic recount will not be triggered.
At the local level, voters in a number of Front Range cities and counties decided who will be their next mayor and city councilmembers. Voters in Brighton recalled their mayor, Ken Kreutzer, in an overwhelming vote. Also, Lakewood and Aurora held two high-profile mayoral elections. Projections show that Adam Paul will continue as mayor of Lakewood, but they mayoral race in Aurora is too close to call with Mike Coffman and Omar Montgomery separated by just 242 votes, which represents 0.4% of the vote and is a spread that will trigger an automatic recount if it holds. Ballot counting for Aurora’s mayoral and city council races (where five of 10 council seats were up for election as well) continued well past Election Day, which led to a closer than anticipated contest for Coffman and multiple lead changes in city council races. Based on the latest results from Adams and Arapahoe counties, Juan Marcano and Alison Coombs successfully mounted challenges to incumbents in Wards IV and V, Ward VI incumbent Francoise Bergan will retain her seat and at-large incumbent Angela Lawson will be joined by newcomer Curtis Gardner.
Colorado voters also decided new schoolboard members. In Denver, union-backed candidates appear to have prevailed. They are Scott Baldermann in District 1, Brad Laurvick in District 5, and Tay Anderson in the at-large race.
Local voters also voted on important ballot measures. In Larimer County, voters passed a mill levy to increase teacher pay but declined to increase sales tax to fund transportation. Jefferson County voters rejected a measure to increase the mill levy for public safety and transportation improvements despite support across party lines.
Statewide voter turnout was 39.59%, with 1,499,713 ballots cast out of 3,827,075 registered voters. While the final vote count will not be tabulated until next week when the deadlines to count provisional ballots and allow voters to cure signature discrepancies expire, results to date show Republicans leading unaffiliated voters and Democrats, respectively.
Unofficial results for all statewide and multicounty election results can be found here, while single-county election results can be found on each county’s election page.
Finally, three states outside of Colorado drew national attention. Democrats won big in Virginia, flipping both chambers of the state legislature, which will likely lead to gun legislation reform and an increase in the minimum wage in that state. Democrats also appear to have won the Kentucky governor’s race. Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear has claimed victory in the race, although Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said he is not conceding and has requested a recanvass of the election results. In Mississippi, Republicans scored a victory with Tate Reeves defeating that state’s Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the race for governor.
With Tuesday behind us, the 2020 election cycle is now in full swing. Colorado’s presidential primary will take place on March 3. The presidential primary will be conducted by mail rather than by caucus, and unaffiliated voters will be able to participate. June 30 is the date of the Republican and Democrat primary election for other offices. The general election will be held Nov. 3, which will include TABOR- and non-TABOR-related ballot measures initiated by citizens and referred by the legislature.
Keep an eye on what ballot measures that are in the pipeline for the 2020 election by visiting Brownstein’s Colorado Ballot Tracker.
This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding results in Colorado’s 2019 election cycle. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.