Boulder's first ranked-choice mayoral election will feature results published after each counting round. Candidates may seem eliminated in initial counts but could be back in the running through redistributed votes. Credit: Chloe Anderson

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Boulderites will directly elect their mayor for the first time. They’ll also vote for four other seats on the Boulder City Council, meaning a majority of the nine-member council may turn over this year. Two important city ballot measures plus county measures are on the ballot as well.

We’re eager to keep you informed about this election’s results, and their significance, both on Nov. 7 and in the days to follow. So here’s our plan for coverage and how you can make sure you’re in the know:

  • Email newsletter: If you’re already a subscriber to BRL Today, you can sit back and get our election reporting in your inbox. Not a subscriber yet? No worries. Just enter your email address in the box below, click “sign me up,” and you’ll be all set. Or sign up on our newsletter page.
  • Timing of updates: Our first election night update is expected to land in your inbox around 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, shortly after the county finishes publishing the second batch of results. On Wednesday morning, BRL Today will be delivered around 7 a.m. and will include everything we know up to that point, including the 1:00 a.m. results. We’ll likely send another results update on Wednesday evening.
  • Website: A live blog post will be pinned to the top of our website’s homepage, where real-time results and updates from election night will be added. So if all else fails, make your go-to site. Our website will also host election-related stories we’ll be publishing in the days and weeks to come.
  • Social media: We’ll post results on Twitter (now X) and Threads. If these platforms are your preferred choice for staying updated on election night, be sure to follow us there.

When the county will release results 

Boulder County Elections has provided the following estimated schedule for posting its results:

  1. 7:15 p.m. – Tuesday, Nov. 7
  2. 8:30 p.m. – Tuesday, Nov. 7
  3. 11 p.m. – Tuesday, Nov. 7
  4. 1 a.m. – Wednesday, Nov. 8 (last post on election night)
  5. 4:30 p.m. – Wednesday, Nov. 8
  6. 4:30 p.m. –  Thursday, Nov. 9 
  7. Additional postings on Friday, Nov. 10, if needed
  8. End of day on Thursday, Nov. 16, for processing after cured ballots and absentee and military mail ballot deadline (last unofficial results posting)

Making sense of early results

It’s important to remember that results posted on election night may not reflect the final outcome. The first posting at 7 p.m., for instance, will not include any ballots dropped off on Election Day. Those ballots will not begin to be counted until at least 8:30 p.m. on election night and will be posted in later updates. 

Therefore, early results often reflect the preferences of early voters — voters who may agree with other early voters but disagree with those who vote later. Homeowners in Boulder, for instance, have tended to vote earlier than students and younger professionals. Close Boulder races and measures have been known to “flip” after the votes from Election Day are included, often on Wednesday or Thursday. 

As of Monday, Nov. 6, the county had received 65,034 ballots, indicating that 28% of voters have cast their ballots so far. 

Ranked-choice voting’s impact on mayoral results and posting times

The City of Boulder will be electing its mayor for the first time using ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting. 

With this method, voters rank candidates by preference and votes are counted through several rounds. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the votes in the first round of counting, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their second-choice votes are reallocated to the other candidates. 

This process continues until one candidate gets more than 50% of the votes. 

A hypothetical example of a ballot where voters use instant-runoff voting to select a candidate. Source: City of Boulder

The county will publish mayoral vote counts for each round as the votes come in, similar to other contests, according to the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder. So, for instance, when the county posts the first batch of ballots on Tuesday evening, it may appear as if one or more candidates were eliminated. But those candidates could be back in the running as more votes get redistributed and counted over the subsequent hours or days. 

The purpose of presenting the votes for each round as the ballots come in is to be more transparent, according to Molly Fitzpatrick, Boulder County’s clerk and recorder. The results will be presented through a visualization tool and PDF on the Clerk and Recorder’s website. 

Because the process for counting the mayoral ballots is more complicated, the results may be posted about 15 minutes after the other counts are published.

Stacy Feldman is the founder and publisher of Boulder Reporting Lab. She previously co-founded and was executive editor of Inside Climate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit newsroom covering the climate emergency. She was a 2020-21 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she developed the concept for BRL. Email:

John Herrick is a reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering housing, transportation, policing and local government. He previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for Email:

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other related topics. He is also the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Email:

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