Boulder voters can mail their ballots back until Oct. 30, 2023. If using a drop box, you have until Election Day, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. to submit it. Credit: Wan Wei

On Nov. 7, Boulderites will elect their city’s mayor for the first time. Using ranked-choice voting, the direct election is a divergence from the past, when councilmembers would unceremoniously choose one of their own for the role. It’s important to note that the mayor’s responsibilities won’t change with this election. Whoever is chosen will still manage meetings and represent the city at various levels of government. But the election is historic nonetheless.

With five of nine city council seats up for grabs, the majority on the council is also at stake this year. Even more than the mayoral election, the potential overhaul of city council gives Boulderites an opportunity to influence Boulder’s future at a crucial time. In addition to long-standing concerns about land use and housing, recent years have brought additional issues to the forefront of Boulder’s political conversation: homelessness, mental health and addiction services, the future of policing, and challenges related to crime and public safety. These issues are being discussed on the campaign trail and will be voted on in ballot measures.

Register to vote

You can vote in Colorado elections if you:

  • Are 18.
  • Are a United States citizen.
  • Have lived in Colorado at least 22 days before the election.
  • Are not in jail or serving some other confinement sentence for a felony conviction, though if you’re on parole or probation you can vote.

If you meet these criteria, you can register to vote online, by mail, or in person at any of the three Boulder County Clerk and Recorder offices.

  • Boulder at 1750 33rd Street (main office).
  • Longmont at 529 Coffman Street.
  • Lafayette at 1376 Miners Drive.

If you’re a CU Boulder udent, the process is slightly more complicated, but still manageable.

Can’t remember if you’re registered already? Check here.

Key dates

Deadline to register: If you want to get a ballot mailed to you, you need to be registered to vote at least eight days before the election. That’s Oct. 30 this year. But if you forget, fret not. You can register to vote right up until election day at voting centers.

Early voting: Drop boxes will open just as Boulder County residents are getting their ballots on Oct. 16. So if you know who and what you’re voting for, you can get that task off your plate. There are many drop boxes to choose from in each town, all of which are listed on the County’s website. Campaign phone calls and texts also tend to slow down or stop if you’ve submitted your ballot — a massive upside to some.

The last moment to vote: Is 6:59 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2023. Unless you’re an adrenaline junky, probably best to vote before then.

How to vote

Mail-in voting: If you’re mailing in your ballot, it’s recommended you get it in the mail by Oct. 30 to give it time to get there by election day. Use one first-class stamp if your ballot is one page, two if it’s two pages.

Drop boxes: Dropping your ballot in a designated box is probably your easiest option behind mailing it. Or it’s easier, especially if you can’t remember where you put your stamps. Each town has a plethora of boxes to choose from. Your ballot will count the same in each.

In person voting: Still a great option, and particularly great if you forgot to register beforehand or lost your ballot.

  • In Boulder, you can vote at the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder office at 1750 33rd Street, or at the University Memorial Center at 1669 Euclid Avenue.
  • In Lafayette, you’ve only got one option, and that’s the Southeast County Community Hub at 1755 S. Public Road.
  • In Longmont, same deal, you can vote at the St. Vrain Community Hub at 515 Coffman Street.

What is Ranked-choice voting?

What ballot measures are on the ballot?

City of Boulder measures

Ballot Measure 302: Safe Zones 4 Kids

Ballot Issue 2A: Reauthorize a sales tax to pay for arts programs

Boulder County measures

Open space extension — County issue 1A is seeking to extend the existing .05% sales and use tax revenue for 15 years to continue buying, improving and managing the county’s open space land.

Affordable housing extension — County issue 1B is also a 15-year extension, this one for a .185% sales and use tax that funds affordable housing initiatives in Boulder County.

Nederland EcoPass extension — Residents of the Nederland EcoPass district will vote on whether or not to renew a property tax that pays for that EcoPass. Provided to all residents, the pass allows for unlimited bus rides on all RTD buses. The tax, roughly $12 a year for every $100,000 in home value, raised $173,000 in 2023. In 2018, perhaps cited because it was before the pandemic, the 1,800 residents with the passes took an average of 380 trips a day.

See Boulder County’s website for more.

What city candidates are on the ballot?


City Council

Where do city candidates stand on key issues?

In June 2023, BRL launched a reader-powered election reporting project. Readers submitted questions for city council and mayoral candidates. We distilled hundreds of responses into six questions on homelessness, affordable housing, public safety, transportation and leadership. Click the arrows to access the candidates’ answers. You can also read the candidates’ responses by question here.

What do you think are the most promising solutions to homelessness?

Taishya Adams: “Homelessness is a response to failed policy, not failed people. I believe the most promising initiatives in reducing homelessness are those that are sufficiently funded, staffed and supported over multiple years.” Read full answers.

Silas Atkins: “Housing is at the core of my campaign, which is centered around meeting people’s basic needs.” Read full answers.

Terri Brncic: “With an estimated 75% of the unsheltered population suffering from substance abuse disorders, untreated mental illness, or both, we can’t continue to insist that housing alone will solve the problem.” Read full answers.

Aaron Brockett: “The need for additional solutions for unhoused community members is great. I firmly support the creation of more permanent supportive housing using the “housing first” model as well as interim solutions like tiny home villages and safe outdoor spaces.” Read full answers.

Jacques Decalo: “We must address the issues at the heart of the problem, establishing facilities that can rehabilitate, house and address the mental health issue that those experiencing homelessness are facing.” Read full answers.

Waylon Lewis: “First of all, stop the infighting. We can’t make meaningful progress and actually help people, increase safety and return our town to a baseline of functionality, access and safety for all. Specifically, I’m supportive of the camping ban.” Read full answers.

Tina Marquis: “Homelessness is complex, and people are homeless for different reasons. I believe we’ll need several tools to address this humanitarian crisis.” Read full answers.

Aaron Gabriel Neyer: “We need to work with greater urgency to spin up better services, most specifically a night shelter and a day shelter. Then we need to put more resources into mental health outreach teams who can go and build relationships with the unhoused.” Read full answers.

Jennifer Robins: “There are many factors that contribute to homelessness. These include lack of housing, income inequity, substance abuse and mental health issues. I am committed to working to increase affordable housing.” Read full answers.

Ryan Schuchard: “Our homelessness crisis is driven by poverty and a lack of housing. These circumstances are worsening, nationally and in Boulder, with homelessness at much higher levels in communities with limited housing affordability like ours.” Read full answers.

Nicole Speer: “Homelessness encompasses the encampments in our public spaces to families doubling up in single-family homes. Regardless of the type of homelessness we talk about, no one finds our current situation acceptable.” Read full answers.

Paul Tweedlie: “City Council’s passing of the Police Master Plan was a great step forward.” Read full answers.

Tara Winer: “I believe housing with supportive services is the most effective way to help reduce homelessness.” Read full answers.

Bob Yates: “In the September issue of my monthly newsletter, the Boulder Bulletin, I set forth eight solutions to eight homelessness problems.” Read full answers.

We are in a climate emergency. With your leadership, how would Boulder change commensurately?

Taishya Adams: “We must access and leverage every single penny of the historic climate investments at the federal, state and city government to expand our city’s climate staff, budget, partnerships and resources.” Read full answers.

Silas Atkins: “We need to invest in multi-modal transportation. When bikes, pedestrians and buses have dedicated space, it allows more people to get out of their cars and reduce emissions.” Read full answers.

Terri Brncic: “One of the biggest levers we have in Boulder to reduce carbon emissions is by holding Xcel accountable for promoting and delivering green energy.” Read full answers.

Aaron Brockett: “A critical piece is achieving our goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030. This can be accomplished by either adopting Community Choice Energy if approved by the state legislature or participating in the new Xcel program, Zero Emissions Communities.” Read full answers.

Jacques Decalo: “Boulder must work on all fronts to build climate resiliency and be the gold standard for other cities to do the same. Currently, Boulder has a goal of being carbon neutral by 2035. This has already been pushed back.” Read full answers.

Waylon Lewis: “This is my first issue among equals. It’s an existential question — with a fun answer. Fun? Biking around a mature-treed town to community gatherings where folks feel safe? Fun. Homes that aren’t polluted by fracking/gas fumes? A lot more fun than having asthma and health issues.” Read full answers.

Tina Marquis: “I would continue and/or accelerate many of the initiatives already in place, including shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, electrification, carbon sequestration, reducing single use plastics, green building, including incentives for construction that is climate resilient, and expanding biodiversity.” Read full answers.

Aaron Gabriel Neyer: “I will move beyond just being sustainable and move towards supporting resilient and regenerative systems.” Read full answers.

Jennifer Robins: “To reach the goal of net zero emissions, I think we have to focus on using more renewable energy and reducing demand through better urban planning.” Read full answers.

Ryan Schuchard: “A good starting point is to consider: (1) areas of greatest potential for mitigation, illustrated by Boulder’s GHG inventory; (2) how to build adaptive capacity, which, coupled with mitigation, can be thought of as climate-resilient development; and (3) the imperative of equity and a just transition.” Read full answers.

Nicole Speer: “As the climate crisis worsens, changes that endanger entire sections of our ecosystem will happen over months rather than years.” Read full answers.

Paul Tweedlie: “Climate change issues are of the utmost importance to so many in our town and so often Boulder has led the nation in finding innovative solutions to energy production.” Read full answers.

Tara Winer: “We need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Period. Transportation accounts for about one-third of our GHG’s. E-bikes are transformative in mode-shifting people out of cars.” Read full answers.

Bob Yates: “One of my proudest accomplishments during my eight years on council was the negotiated resolution of our dispute with Xcel Energy.” Read full answers.

How can we better provide alternatives to cars when existing infrastructure prioritizes cars?

Taishya Adams: “We need alternatives that meet real people and families where they are. A $500 rebate on a $1,200 bike will not meet the needs of our multi-generational/large families, families with children at different schools and multiple jobs, or people with disabilities.” Read full answers.

Silas Atkins: “We need to stop prioritizing cars. All modes of transportation should be treated equally providing safe routes to where we need to go.” Read full answers.

Terri Brncic: “Prioritizing bike safety and security is one way to keep people out of their cars. We need to continue to invest in expanded and protected bike lanes, particularly in our key commute corridors.” Read full answers.

Aaron Brockett: “We need to make sure that our transportation infrastructure improvements improve the safety and accessibility of non-automobile transportation options.” Read full answers.

Jacques Decalo: “We need to find ways to make public transit options fast, efficient and attractive to reduce this large source of emissions.” Read full answers.

Waylon Lewis: “Bike lanes — protected. More buses — electrified. Every person we get out of a car — because they want to, because we make it quicker and easier to do so — is less traffic, less pollution for all of us, including drivers. This is a win-win.” Read full answers.

Tina Marquis: “In the over 20 years I have lived in Boulder, we have been trying to reduce our dependence on cars. During that time, I have observed the elimination of some routes from RTD, and recognize that we are still dependent on the state to help with some of our transportation challenges.” Read full answers.

Aaron Gabriel Neyer: “With patience and persistence, one step at a time. I propose we start by evolving our public transit, allowing for greater flexibility so that public transit can work for a wider number of people.” Read full answers.

Jennifer Robins: “We have to be sure any decisions made on this front are equitable. Steps to provide alternatives to cars include zoning to create housing in areas where we have mass transit and walkable mixed-use neighborhoods, such as our business districts.” Read full answers.

Ryan Schuchard: “The transportation future Boulder needs is people-centered, transit-rich, and car-optional. Levers.” Read full answers.

Nicole Speer: “This certainly is a challenge! Public transit would be a good option but without additional funding from the state, RTD will only get back to 80% of pre-pandemic service levels in the next four years..” Read full answers.

Paul Tweedlie: “I’m encouraged by the city’s e-bike and e-scooter programs and by our increased investment in public transport.” Read full answers.

Tara Winer: “Let’s change the infrastructure! We can do this by creating more protected bike lanes, and by ensuring that bike paths and bike storage spots are safe so that everyone feels comfortable biking around town.” Read full answers.

Bob Yates: “For the foreseeable future, cars will continue to be used to transport seniors, children, tools and purchases. What we need to plan for in the near term is not a car-free world, but for a car-shared world, where cars coexist safely with cyclists and pedestrians.” Read full answers.

What is your plan for increasing Boulder’s affordable housing supply?

Taishya Adams: “We need to better define what “affordable” means across the socioeconomic spectrum in our city.” Read full answers.

Silas Atkins: “In the short term, we need to build more housing and a variety of housing in transit rich corridors that have city services already available, which keeps costs down, meets climate goals with reduced emissions from sprawl, as well as maximizing existing resources, and let’s people spend more time in the community.” Read full answers.

Terri Brncic: “Density alone will not create affordability unless it is coupled with explicit affordability commitments and targeted development.” Read full answers.

Aaron Brockett: “This is a critically important issue given the depth of Boulder’s housing crisis. One of our biggest opportunities is converting older business parks and strip malls into vibrant, mixed-use, 15-minute neighborhoods with a diversity of housing types and prices.” Read full answers.

Jacques Decalo: “To meet our permanently affordable low- and middle-income housing goals, we must raise and allocate more funds for this work.” Read full answers.

Waylon Lewis: “Boulder is becoming a white-washed homogeneous and, dare I say, more boring town that it should be or inherently is. Home prices more than doubled 15 years ago, and we have yet to recover.” Read full answers.

Tina Marquis: “I appreciate Boulder’s commitment to increasing the affordable housing supply, with over 8% of our supply being affordable, outpacing our county, and more on the horizon. Like many, I am looking to increase “missing middle” housing.” Read full answers.

Aaron Gabriel Neyer: “Zoning reform. We need to gradually allow for greater density and we need to increase the amount of permanent affordable housing.” Read full answers.

Jennifer Robins: “We need to continue our inclusionary housing policy and commercial linkage fees to give the city the money it needs to continue working with the county and state to leverage additional funds for additional affordable housing opportunities.” Read full answers.

Ryan Schuchard: “Align Boulder’s housing policy with our values by pursuing measures to expand Boulder’s overall stock of housing; increase the range of options in the “middle housing” category; and increase the number of options of affordability price points.” Read full answers.

Nicole Speer: “The time to increase Boulder’s affordable housing supply was 20-30 years ago. A healthy housing ecosystem has a range of housing types and prices for different stages of life and different types of households.” Read full answers.

Paul Tweedlie: “The city should follow the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan and annex the 600 acres of land in the Planning Reserve and encourage the development of low-income housing.” Read full answers.

Tara Winer: “For those eligible, we have a fair amount of permanently affordable housing options available, and even more in the pipeline.” Read full answers.

Bob Yates: “As a member of city council, I was proud to increase Boulder’s inclusionary housing requirement for low-income families from 20% of new housing to 25%.” Read full answers.

What approach would you take to address camping in our parks, on our bike paths and along our waterways?

Taishya Adams: “I advocate for investments in evidence-based, knowledge-aligned proactive approaches like basic income support, increasing the minimum wage to a living wage to stop new people from becoming unhoused, and expand affordable housing programs to include transitional and sober living options.” Read full answers.

Silas Atkins: “Give people a place to go, which needs to be housing first with supportive services. Moving people around is harmful, costly, and does not solve anything.” Read full answers.

Terri Brncic: “We need to change the dialogue in our community and acknowledge that allowing individuals to suffer severe crises in our public spaces without any meaningful response is not compassionate or humane.” Read full answers.

Aaron Brockett: “A key part of the approach needs to be giving people more sheltering, service and housing options so they have alternatives to camping in town.” Read full answers.

Jacques Decalo: “The unsanctioned public camping is infringing on residents, tourists, businesses,and other’s freedom, safety and peaceful access to our public spaces.” Read full answers.

Waylon Lewis: “This isn’t easy, making progress — but the status quo is far harder on all of us. It’s not safe for joggers, for tourists, for seniors, for cyclists or for our homeless.” Read full answers.

Tina Marquis: “I would continue to enforce the camping ban, with priority enforcement around schools, medical centers, day cares and recreation centers, as well as multi-use paths, waterways and areas more vulnerable to wildfires.” Read full answers.

Aaron Gabriel Neyer: “I would support police reform that amplifies more mental health outreach to better understand the problems facing those on the streets and help to more effectively connect them with services.” Read full answers.

Jennifer Robins: “Encampments are not a compassionate solution. There is no sobriety on the creek. No one should be living on the street.” Read full answers.

Ryan Schuchard: “We need to bring multiple forces under control. These solutions seem promising: Ensure the police chief has what’s needed to keep sidewalks and multi-use paths clear to minimize user conflicts.” Read full answers.

Nicole Speer: “It is unacceptable that we have people living in our public spaces. To address this situation, we need to invest in evidence-based solutions such as those mentioned above, and divest in failed policies.” Read full answers.

Paul Tweedlie: “We need to enforce our laws. A first misdemeanor gets you a ticket and a fine. If you don’t pay your fine, you go to jail.” Read full answers.

Tara Winer: “I support Boulder’s encampment ban. Our public spaces need to be shared. The encampment ban is certainly not a solution for homelessness, but it is a tool to help maintain our shared spaces.” Read full answers.

Bob Yates: “Camping in Boulder’s public spaces, including in parks, on bike paths, and along waterways is — and should remain — illegal.” Read full answers.

Assume you are elected this November. Now imagine it’s November one year later. What one, specific thing will you have accomplished that you’re proud of? Put another way, what will define success for you after one year on council, or as mayor?

Taishya Adams: “Success after year one on council will be improved processes and community activation. We will be closer to the collaboration rating on the Boulder Engagement Framework while also reducing bottlenecks and blindspots in our city’s policies, procedures, programs and initiatives.” Read full answers.

Silas Atkins: “Success is defined for all of us by making people’s lives better. An example of this was the approval of Ordinance 8585, increasing occupancy of unrelated people to five.” Read full answers.

Terri Brncic: “My number one priority is to create the processes and infrastructure needed to support a Safe Indoor Shelter policy for individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness.” Read full answers.

Aaron Brockett: “After eight years on city council, I know that policy changes take time to implement. But if in a year, we’ve moved the needle on housing affordability and availability, if we add solutions for people experiencing homelessness…I will call it a successful year!” Read full answers.

Jacques Decalo: “I would love to be able to have worked with our energy sector to have increased our reliance on green energy and moved further away from fossil fuels.” Read full answers.

Waylon Lewis: “For me, my first priority will be process. City council should not pretend to be experts in everything, but to prioritize urgent, needed solutions to painful problems of affordability, homelessness/public safety, transportation, climate.” Read full answers.

Tina Marquis: “Within a year of having joined the council, my hope is that every city council in Boulder County, including Boulder, and the county commissioners, will make a joint declaration that homelessness in Boulder County is a humanitarian crisis and will embark on a collective, unified effort to eradicate homelessness.” Read full answers.

Aaron Gabriel Neyer: “We are telling a climate story in Boulder that is inspiring people far beyond our local community. Over the last year we’ve been able to surface so many innovative solutions already coming through our government and our local community.” Read full answers.

Jennifer Robins: “Recently, the Broncos gave $2 million to Boulder. The money comes from a provision of an existing agreement that required 2% of the net proceeds of the sale of the Broncos … I am hoping that if I am elected to council I will be able to help properly appropriate these funds to support our kids and families.” Read full answers.

Ryan Schuchard: “City Council will have established, and be implementing, a process for unlocking significant new climate action.” Read full answers.

Nicole Speer: “I would consider next year a policy success if we passed a minimum wage increase that rises with inflation; placed a similar measure on the 2024 ballot to appropriately pay councilmembers for their time to increase representation from workers, parents, younger people and renters…” Read full answers.

Paul Tweedlie: “I want to see families thrive in Boulder. I propose significant property tax rebates for seniors and families with children.” Read full answers.

Tara Winer: “.Improved biking connectivity and safety will define success for me. As the Hill hotel nears completion, we must prioritize connectivity between the Hill Commercial District, the Hill Hotel and Conference Center and our downtown.” Read full answers.

Bob Yates: “My greatest effort during my first year as mayor will be reducing the number of homeless people in Boulder and mitigating the impacts of homelessness on our community.” Read full answers.

What BVSD board of education candidates are on the ballot?

Where do BVSD school board candidates stand on key issues?

Candidates answer six questions

Who is sending all those mailers?

Campaign organizers have raised more than $200,000 so far this election cycle, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Much of that money will be spend on advertising and mailers aimed at swaying your vote. Here is a rundown of some of the organizations behind this effort:

Yes on 2A is a ballot measure committee supporting the reauthorization of a .15% citywide sales tax. The measure would dedicate half the revenue to the city’s general fund and the other half to arts and cultural programs. The ballot measure committee is backed by members of the arts community, as well as several prominent organizations, such as Parlando School of Musical Arts, a local music school, and Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado (BETC), a local performing arts organization, and eTown, an event venue and broadcast studio.

No groups have formed to oppose the measure. Some city councilmembers wanted to dedicate all of the sales tax revenue to the general fund, which is the city’s largest pot of money that it can spend on just about anything.

PLAN-Boulder County is an organization that has long advocated for open space and, more recently, opposed initiatives to increase housing density, such as raising occupancy limits or adding duplexes and triplexes to single-family neighborhoods. The group has endorsed the Safe Zones 4 Kids ballot measure, Councilmember Bob Yates for city mayor, and a slate a candidates for the Boulder City Council: Terri Brncic, Tina Marquis, Jenny Robins and Tara Winer.

Safe Zones 4 Kids is an organization that formed in the last year to advocate for the removal of encampments near Boulder High. It created a ballot measure committee to campaign in support of Ballot Question 302. The measure would amend city code to make tents and propane tanks near schools, multi-use paths and sidewalks “subject to prioritized removal.” The group has raised $18,400 to spend on campaign activities.

Solutions Not Safe Zones is a ballot measure committee set up to oppose the Safe Zones 4 Kids ballot measure. The group has raised $4,600 this election.  

Better Boulder is a political organization that has set up an unofficial candidate committee to support Aaron Brockett for mayor and Taishya Adams, Waylon Lewis, Ryan Schuchard and Tara Winer for city council. The organization was co-founded by former mayor and head of the Colorado Energy Office, Will Toor. It has typically backed candidates who support urban density, among other causes.

Boulder Progressives is a a left-leaning political organization that has set up an unofficial candidate committee to support Aaron Brockett and Nicole Speer for mayor and Ryan Schuchard and Taishya Adams for city council. The group is also opposed to the Safe Zones 4 Kids ballot measure. 

Dan Caruso is a local tech entrepreneur who has formed an independent expenditure committee to campaign in support of Bob Yates for mayor and a slate of candidates for the Boulder City Council: Terri Brncic, Tina Marquis, Jenny Robins and Tara Winer. Caruso is also backing the Safe Zones 4 Kids measure.

Boulder Elevated is a newly formed unofficial candidate committee set up to support Bob Yates for mayor and a slate of candidates for the Boulder City Council: Terri Brncic, Tina Marquis, Jenny Robins and Tara Winer.

Sierra Club Indian Peaks, a local branch of the national environmental advocacy organization, has registered an unofficial candidate committee to support Aaron Brockett for mayor and Taishya Adams, Waylon Lewis, Ryan Schuchard and Tara Winer for the Boulder City Council.

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