§ 8.3.1. Rights of initiative, referendum and recall reserved to the people  


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  • (A) The people of the City and County of Denver reserve the right to propose and enact ordinances—by initiative; to require that existing ordinances be referred to a vote of the electorate—by referendum; and to recall elected officials. The right of initiative, referendum or recall shall be exercised by petition of the registered electors of the City and County of Denver. Such petitions shall be filed with the Clerk and Recorder as follows: a petition for an initiated ordinance may be filed at any time; a petition for referendum shall be filed within ninety (90) days after final passage and publication of an ordinance; and a petition for recall shall be filed no less than six (6) months after, nor less than one (1) year before a regularly scheduled municipal election in which the office in question has been or will be filled.

    (B) An ordinance may be initiated by petition of registered electors numbering at a minimum five (5) per cent of the total vote for the office of Mayor in the last election at which a Mayor was elected.

    (C) An enacted ordinance may be referred by petition of registered electors numbering at a minimum five (5) per cent of the total vote for the office of Mayor in the last election at which a Mayor was elected.

    (D) Recall may be exercised by petition of registered electors entitled to vote for a successor and numbering at a minimum twenty-five (25) per cent of the vote cast for that office in the municipal election in which the official was elected. For Councilmember-at-large, registered electors shall number at a minimum ten (10) per cent of the total vote cast for the offices of Councilmember-at-large at the election at which the official was elected.

    (E) City Council shall not amend or repeal an initiated ordinance adopted by a vote of the people within six (6) months after final passage. After the first six months and within ten (10) years following final passage of any initiated ordinance adopted by a vote of the people, the initiated ordinance may be amended or repealed by City Council only by two-thirds (2/3) vote. Whenever City Council amends or repeals an initiated ordinance adopted by a vote of the people, City Council may do so only after it holds a public hearing.

    (f) City Council shall not reenact an ordinance repealed by a referendum within one (1) year after repeal by a vote of the people. After the first year and up to ten (10) years following repeal of an ordinance by a referendum, the repealed ordinance may be reenacted by City Council only by two-thirds (2/3) vote. Whenever City Council reenacts an ordinance repealed by a referendum, City Council may do so only after it holds a public hearing.

(Charter 1960, C2.1; amended May 15, 1979; amended August 11, 1992; Ord. No. 678-02, § 1, 8-26-02, elec. 11-5-02; Ord. No. 851-06, § 1, 12-26-06, elec. 1-30-07; Ord. No. 409-13, § 1, 8-26-13, elec. 11-5-13)