COVER STORY Jamie Giellis

Denver mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis speaks during the mayoral forum hosted by One Colorado at the EXDO Event Center in Denver on April 4.

Jamie Giellis, a candidate for Denver mayor, has not voted in 10 of the 22 municipal elections that have occurred since she moved to the city in 2006, according to a Colorado Politics review of city election records.

Giellis, a former president of the River North Arts District, voted in 12 elections during that time but missed three runoff elections, three coordinated elections, two general elections, one municipal election and one primary election, according to her voting history.

By contrast, three others considered to be in the first tier of mayoral candidates have voted in all but a handful of elections during that same period:

  • Mayor Michael Hancock, who is seeking his third and final four-year term, has not missed an election during that time.
  • Penfield Tate III, a former state lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2003, has voted in all but two elections during that same period.
  • Lisa Calderón, a Regis University criminal justice professor making her first run for public office, has missed three elections during that time.

Two other mayoral hopefuls also have voted consistently in recent years:

  • Kalyn Rose Heffernan, an art teacher and disabled rights activist making her first bid for public office, has voted in five of six Denver elections held since November 2015. Prior to that time, she was a Jefferson County resident.
  • Stefan “Seku” Evans, who frequently attends and speaks at Denver City Council meetings, has voted in nine of 11 of the most recent municipal elections. However, Denver election records show he did not vote in an any city elections prior to 2011.

Most of the municipal elections that Giellis missed occurred prior to 2015. In a statement to Colorado Politics, Giellis said that included a span of time when her work as a planning consultant took her out of the country.

“I was traveling and working out of the country for the majority of 2010-2014 in Asia and the United Kingdom on urban planning projects, returning to Denver occasionally, as my new business was taking off and I was completing my masters,” she wrote in an email.

“During that time my voting record was sporadic due to constant travel. I take full responsibility for not being diligent about getting my ballot in. The complexity of being constantly in transit over 4 years certainly added to missing 6 elections in that time.”

Giellis said she does remember casting one ballot last year that does not appear to be reflected in her voter profile report.

“The 2018 primary election is concerning to me,” she wrote. “During that time my husband and I were traveling for our wedding and living with my parents as we finished a home renovation, but in the midst of that chaos I recall casting a ballot that appears to have not been received. It was my job to ensure my vote was counted, and I failed at that.”

Giellis added that her sporadic voting record prior to 2015 does not negate the community work that she did during that period.

“I - as I'm sure many other voters have done - have taken my vote for granted at times. In some moments, we feel helpless to make change, and in others we are awoken to the possibility of the opportunity to make a difference,” she wrote. “My failure to vote has never impacted my involvement or actions on the ground, with the community.”

She also said it does not alter the choice that Denver voters face in the current election, which ends on May 7.

“At the end of the day, this election for mayor is an interview for a qualified person to manage a city, to lead with strategy,” she wrote.

“The mayor has had a much better voting record than I, for example, but can we say that his fight for the right thing in this city has been equivalent?” she added. “I'm focused on reigning in growth and creating a livable city, and I've proven able to rally community to shepherd bold projects. My voting record may distract from that, but it cannot take away from that.”

Giellis has raised the second-highest amount of campaign funds in the race with $442,938 raised as of March 31. Hancock has raised the money money with $1.7 million during the same period.

During the campaign, Giellis has touted her experience working as a city planning consultant in Denver, Britain and Singapore.

At a recent debate, Evans questioned how she could run for mayor after having lived in Denver for just 13 years.

Giellis countered that her experience makes her the best qualified candidate during a time when concerns over growth and development have loomed large in the campaign.

Ballots were mailed out to about 420,000 registered voters on Monday.

Spring municipal elections traditionally have generated relatively low turnout averaging about 30 percent, elections officials have said.

This year may be different, though, given the large number of competitive races and an unusually large field of candidates for mayor and council.

If none of the candidates can garner 50 percent or more of the vote, the two top vote getters will advance to the June 4 runoff election.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Mayor Michael Hancock had missed voting in one election since 2006.

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