Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 9, 20182min609

It seems like the Denvers Clerk and Recorder’s Office is regularly breaking records for marriage licenses issued and newly registered voters. That was certainly true of 2017 as Debra Johnson’s office “eclipsed” the previous year’s accomplishments.

“A large swath of the US viewed the totality of the solar eclipse last year, and here at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, our accomplishments in 2017 eclipsed all previous years,” Johnson said. “With the incredible growth in Denver, we’ve seized opportunities to lead the way in elections, records preservation, marriages and bringing our services directly to you.”

The office issued some 8,406 marriage licenses in 2017, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. In the office’s annual report, officials note innovations sped up wait times from 45 minutes in 2011 to 35 seconds last year.

The office’s Election Division modernized city campaign finance rules for municipal elections last year including establishing a structure for reporting campaign ads (TV, radio, etc.) from candidates or outside groups and, for the first time in Denver, instituting fines for candidates who fail to file campaign finance reports on time.

A new mobile voter center debuted in September in Civic Center Park on National Voter Registration Day, also residents to complete their registration on the go.

Here are some other highlights:

  • 161,545 documents recorded
  • 35,544 newly registered voters
  • 401,454 ballots issued
  • 3,000 bidders for foreclosure auctions
  • $2.7 million in excess funds returned to homeowners
  • First-ever, risk limiting audit
  • $1.3 million back to City coffers


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 1, 20173min352

Denverite’s Erica Meltzer reports that Denver residents once again won’t get to vote on a wide-ranging campaign-reform proposal that, among other features, would have introduced public funding for campaigns. When all the tallying was done at the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office, the ballot initiative and petition drive by the group Clean Slate Now had fallen just shy of the 4,726-signature threshold needed to make it onto the fall ballot.

The proposal had a lot of moving parts. Among which, it would have banned corporate and union donations to candidates in Denver municipal races; it would have lowered limits on individual contributions to candidates, and — in what was probably the most progressive provision — it would have set up an $8 million fund to allow for public financing of elections. Candidates who opted in would have had to agree to a certain number of public debates and accept an even lower limit on individual contributions.

As we’ve noted before, asking the public to foot some of the bill for political campaigns is a touchstone in some political circles — viewed as a last, best hope for curbing the influence of special interests on candidates and their campaigns. If the money comes from the public till, the reasoning goes, the candidates are less likely to be beholden to anyone in particular. And, ideally, office seekers also would spend less time dialing for dollars.

Of course, dinging the public for political speech doesn’t sit well with many who reside elsewhere on the political spectrum, particularly on the right. And it may affront the sensibilities of centrist voters, too, who may feel the last thing they want to do is be forced to pay for all those obnoxious campaign mailers that usually go straight to the recycle bin.

A similar proposal headed for last year’s municipal ballot was derailed by a court challenge. Perhaps next year?


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 27, 20172min310

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 NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 9, 20172min276

If you happen to stop by the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office this Valentine’s Day, it won’t be just love that’s in the air but also marriage — marriages, to be precise. (They do go together like…well, just like the song says.) Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson is hosting her 10th annual “Valentine’s Day Event,” at which the office provides one-stop shopping for the marriage-minded.

It’s particularly helpful for those soon-to-be-blissful couples that are in a hurry and want to get it all done at one location. Here’s the announcement from Johnson’s office:

Judges and clergy will be on hand to perform free marriage ceremonies for couples. Food and beverages will be available for the couples. Drawings will be held for gifts from local businesses, elected officials and other city agencies.

Probably also a good option for couples on a budget. And who isn’t by the time they arrive at the doorstep of matrimony?

Here are the rest of the details, courtesy of the Denver Clerk and Recorder:

WHAT: Picture Perfect – Denver Clerk & Recorder’s 10th Annual Valentine’s Celebration

WHEN: Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Webb Building, 201 W. Colfax, Dept. 101

The media are invited to attend.

Marriage licenses are $30. Ceremonies are free.
Couples are strongly encouraged to apply online before coming to the office.