In this off-year election, voters across Colorado decided two statewide ballot measures and determined local races for mayors, city councils, school boards and local ballot measures. Below is a rundown of the results of the two statewide issues on the ballot and mayoral results for some of Colorado’s larger municipalities.
Statewide Ballot Measures: Prop HH and Prop II
Proposition HH garnered the most attention going into election day, with media largely reporting that the complexity of the legislatively referred measure was leaving voters confused and, thus, in a default “no” position. Although proponents touted the measure as a double-win for voters by providing property tax relief and putting more funding toward K-12 education, opponents cast the measure as a wolf in sheep’s clothing to keep a significant cut of voter’s TABOR refunds indefinitely. Indeed, a citizen-initiated copycat measure pushed by opponents showed that the policy would not reduce property taxes but would rather produce a slightly smaller increase in property taxes. In the end, over 60% of voters rejected Proposition HH, and the proponents had conceded defeat about an hour after polls closed.
With Proposition HH’s defeat, Colorado property owners could be facing as much as a 40% increase in property tax bills barring intervention from state or local policymakers. Local governments don’t have much time before property tax bills go out next year, and their options for providing property tax relief are somewhat limited. Elected officials could lower mill levies using a temporary credit, which would allow it to increase in a future year when needed without voter approval. This excludes school finance levies, which would require action from the General Assembly before Dec. 15.
Property tax relief, and more largely affordable housing, has been a pervasively debated issue this year. The measure was endorsed by Gov. Jared Polis, who signed an executive order today calling the legislature back for a special session to consider a “property tax relief package.”. The special session will convene at the state capitol on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m..
Regardless, voters will get another opportunity for property tax relief next year. Initiative #50, the first and (so far) only measure to gain sufficient signatures to make the 2024 ballot, would enact a statewide cap on annual property taxes when revenues are expected to grow faster than 4%. Proponents of the measure call it a simple solution to soaring property taxes statewide while opponents question its viability. Since property taxes vary from county to county and the initiative doesn’t specify how the state and local governments would coordinate changes under the terms of the cap, it’s unclear how the initiative would impact an individual homeowner’s tax bill.
In contrast, voters handily passed Proposition II, the other statewide ballot measure, with nearly two-thirds support. The uncontroversial measure, which was also legislatively referred, will allow the state to retain all the tobacco and nicotine taxes it has been collecting since voters authorized the tax to fund universal preschool back in 2020. The passage is another win for proponents of universal preschool, which include Gov. Polis.
Significant Mayoral Races
Locally, several large municipalities elected mayors, with Boulder doing so using ranked choice voting for the first time. Pueblo saw a nine-person race winnowed down to a two-person runoff, that includes the incumbent and which will take place on January 23.
- John Marriott: 49.54%
- Lauren Simpson: 50.46%
- Mike Coffman (incumbent): 54.54%
- Juan Marcano: 38.46%
- Jeff Sanford: 7%
Boulder (using ranked choice voting for first time):
- Aaron Brockett: 51.87% (won in the second round)
- Bob Yates: 48.13% (lost in the second round)
- Nicole Speer (eliminated in second round)
- Paul Tweedie (eliminated in first round
- Guyleen Castriotta (unopposed incumbent): 100.00%
- Steve Douglas: 49.85%
- René Bullock: 38.61%
- Joseph Dreiling: 11.53%
- Jeni Arndt (incumbent): 92.31%
- Patricia Babbitt (write-in): 7.69%%
- Heather Schneider: 37.10%
- Waquim Filsaime: 1.40%
- Charlie Sturdavant: 10.27%
- Laura Weinberg (incumbent): 47.89%
- Country Joe MacDonald: 3.65%
- Bill Gillard: 12.77%
- John Gates (incumbent): 74.08%
- Jim Ethridge: 13.15%
- Wendi Strom: 47.16%
- Cathy Kentner: 28.33%
- Don Burkhart: 24.51%
- Ethan Augreen: 13.69%
- Joan Peck (incumbent): 60.38%
- Terri Goon: 25.94%
- Jackie Marsh (incumbent): 50.61%
- Don Overcash: 32.23%
- Janice Ververs 17.16%
- Meredith Leighty (incumbent): 62.13%
- Tim Long: 21.93%
- Mark Bromley: 15.94%
Pueblo (nine-way race that will almost certainly go to a runoff):
- Larry Atencio: 7.18%
- Dennis Flores: 11.55%
- Tom Croshal: 3.33%
- Deryk Trujillo: 1.86%
- Chris Nicoll: 13.20%
- Nick Gradisar (incumbent): 20.82% (heading to runoff)
- Heather Graham: 22.57% (heading to runoff)
- Randy Thurston: 12.23%
- Regina Maestri: 7.25%
- Julia Marvin: 46.57%
- Jan Kulmann (incumbent): 53.43%
This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding Colorado's 2023 election results. 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. The information in this article is accurate as of the publication date. Because the law in this area is changing rapidly, and insights are not automatically updated, continued accuracy cannot be guaranteed.