Denver Clerk says furlough schedule conflicts with election calendar

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DENVER (KDVR) — On Friday, Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul López, wrote a letter to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock stating his concerns for the proposed furlough schedule and its conflict with the election calendar.

López says that although he plans to voluntarily furlough, he believes the furlough schedule will disrupt the operation of voter service and polling centers, election facilities and election-support operations.

Additionally, he says, this action would violate Federal and State election mandates.

The letter states:

Three of the five required furlough days directly contradict with the election calendar. The first, July 6, coincides with ballot processing in the June 30 State Primary. The second, September 4, coincides with the state ballot certification deadline, when our team needs to be available to prepare the ballot and TABOR notice for November. The third, October 19, falls on the first date we are required under state law to open voter service and polling centers. Since nine of the 12 sites we are opening that day are in city facilities, that furlough day and corresponding city shut down will impede our ability to open vote centers and follow state law.

As the duly elected Clerk and Recorder and chief elections official for the county, by Federal, State and local law, it is my obligation and duty to administer the two remaining elections without disruption, and I hereby invoke Article §8.2.29 in the Denver City Charter, which states “that the council shall appropriate sufficient funds to the Clerk and Recorder to enable the Clerk and Recorder to conduct elections and to obtain suitable offices, supplies, and employees to perform his or her duties;” and pursuant to Article §8.1.2 to “fulfill any duty or meet any requirement or obligation imposed by state law upon a county clerk and recorder.

Paul López

Because of the conflict between the election calendar and the furlough days, López is proposing the following items be implemented:

  • In accordance with Charter, the submitted 2020 budget revisions are approved as is without expectation of further reduction.
  • That all employees in the Office of the Clerk and Recorder remain classified as essential personnel exempt from furloughs in order to perform a critical function of our government.
  • That any city employees outside of the Office of the Clerk and Recorder necessary and responsible for the operations of city facilities for election-related purposes (including identified voter service and polling centers) as well as all necessary maintenance, technology, security and legal personnel also be excepted from the identified furlough days for the duration of the election cycle.

López says this proposal will ensure the ability to continue to protect democracy in Denver.

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