Clerk & Recorder Responds Regarding Accessibility in Sponsor Debate

Published on February 15, 2023

Denver Clerk & Recorder Responds Regarding Accessibility in Sponsor Debate

“The debate sponsors share our commitment to making accessibility a fundamental part of the democratic process, and we regret that Councilman Hinds had an adverse experience at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance’s debate on Monday,” Clerk Paul D. López said.

“The Clerk & Recorder’s office does not plan, advertise, or facilitate debates. Once we approved the applications, sponsors coordinated with candidates for any pre-planning, format, and logistics,” Clerk López said. In order to be sanctioned, debate sponsors were required to fill an application stating that they meet basic requirements including ADA accessibility. For the District 10 debates, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and the Upper Downtown Neighborhood Association submitted applications and were approved.

Regarding the assertion that Councilman Hinds was not made aware of the debates: “It is simply false that Councilman Hinds was not made aware of the debate,” Clerk López confirmed. Candidates qualifying for the Fair Elections Fund received multiple emails from the Clerk & Recorder’s campaign finance team including the debate schedule and candidates’ obligation to attend since the debates were confirmed in December 2022. In addition to this outreach, debate details have also been available on the Clerk & Recorder’s website for the candidates and the public since that time.

Candidates receiving Fair Elections Funds must appear at the debates sanctioned for their races. Exceptions were not made for any candidate’s potential scheduling conflicts because the debates were sanctioned before candidate certification, and to avoid undue bias between incumbents and non-incumbents.

“No one should have that experience, and I have apologized to Councilman Hinds personally,” Clerk López said. “Our office continues to communicate with all debate sponsors to ensure that they can fulfill ADA requirements and other needs.”