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Denver’s clerk, eligible for a third term, says two are enough for her

Author: Dan Njegomir - July 27, 2017 - Updated: July 27, 2017

Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson talks about mail voting on Sept. 22, 2015, in Denver's Civic Center Park. The Denver Elections Division was honored by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies for innovations involving using electronic tablets to sign petitions and register to vote in December 2016. (Photo by Ernest Luning)Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson addresses mail voting in Denver’s Civic Center Park in 2015. (Photo by Ernest Luning)

Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, who among other career milestones, played a prominent role in the court battle over same-sex marriage, announced today she won’t seek a third term when her post comes up for election in two years. From a press release just issued by her office:

“It is my privilege and honor to serve the citizens of Denver since being elected in 2011,” Clerk Johnson said. “With two more years left in office, I still have much to accomplish. However, I plan to retire from public service after 25 years.”

The announcement recounts how Johnson — an advocate of marriage equality who believed clerks should be able to issue licenses to same-sex couples — turned down one same-sex couple in 2014 so they could take her to court. Her aim was for the couple to challenge the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The couple did so, and as the  clerk’s press statement notes, “the courts sided with Johnson and the City and County of Denver to usher in marriage equality.”

Some of Johnson’s other accomplishments touted in the new release:

  • She wrote and championed legislation closing the loopholes in Colorado’s proxy marriage laws to ensure marriage can’t be used for sex trafficking or bringing people into the country illegally.
  • Johnson was instrumental in the passage of historic recording legislation which ensures that all Colorado counties have up-to-date electronic recording equipment. This legislation had little benefit for Denver but was key to maintain the efficiency and integrity of recording in Colorado.

Johnson is only Denver’s second elected clerk and recorder.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.