O’Malley won’t seek second term as Denver clerk and recorder

Stephanie O’Malley, Denver’s first elected clerk and recorder, said this week she won’t be seeking a second term in the upcoming municipal election. She said she plans to explore her options and devote time to her family.

“My term as Denver’s first elected Clerk and Recorder has been a rewarding personal experience,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Under my leadership, my team and I have accomplished many significant tasks that have led to Denver having an Elections Division it can now be proud of and a Clerk’s office that is more efficient and professional.”

O’Malley was appointed four years ago by then-Mayor John Hickenlooper and then won election to the seat four months later. Previously, the office had been an appointed position.

In her four years in office, O’Malley reorganized the entire operation, resolved backlogs in the Public Trustee and Recordings divisions, and in general fixed an agency that was “debilitated and demoralized” following the disastrous 2006 elections, according to a release from her office.

During her single term in office, O’Malley oversaw 10 elections without major hitches and instituted a major overhaul of how elections are conducted in the city, including the addition of mail ballots and voter service centers. In the most recent statewide election, Denver was the first metropolitan county in Colorado to finish counting ballots and report results. O’Malley hired a new elections director and reorganized the division, including instituting extensive staff training. The long lines of the 2006 election haven’t returned, her office notes, meaning numerous voters weren’t disenfranchised on her watch.

O’Malley supported legislation signed by the governor requiring every polling place in the state to allow voters to drop off mail ballots. She also designed and implemented the pioneering Ballot TRACE system, allowing voters to track their mail ballots through the postal service. The system won top honors from the National Association of Elections Officials.

Over the last four years, O’Malley implemented a top-to-bottom reorganization of the Records, Recordings, City Clerk and Public Trustee divisions, including revised personnel and business procedures. The reorganization has cut costs considerably, her office said. Other cost-cutting measures have helped serve taxpayers better using fewer tax dollars as the city has dealt with ongoing budget restrictions.

During the recent recession, with more than 6,000 foreclosures a year in Denver, O’Malley has made it a top priority to administer foreclosures and the weekly public auction efficiently and transparently, she said. The Public Trustee Division won a 2009 award from the city honoring its significant improvements.

Also under way is a five-year project to catalog and convert nearly 17 million city documents in her office to electronic format. Many of the documents are deteriorating — on microfilm, microfiche and paper — and some date back as far as 1859. O’Malley has also begun creating an inventory of the massive archive of paper records stored by her office. So far, more than 200,000 documents have been cataloged and 2 million pages reviewed, bringing to light numerous forgotten city treasures. In cooperation with the Denver Public Library, O’Malley’s office has worked to preserve some of the city’s oldest records. The library has already archived a massive collection of the city’s oldest marriage records.