05/03/2011 07:50 pm ET | Updated Jul 03, 2011

Denver Mayoral Race May Be Decided In A Runoff

Denver's mayoral race features nine candidates, of which three are in a dead heat. Polls from the Dever Post/9News have shown Chris Romer, James Mejia and Michael Hancock tied in a virtual three-legged race for mayor, in a climate of significant voter apathy. A runoff will be mandatory if no candidate achieves more than 50 percent of the vote, and will only be conducted between the top two candidates.

Out of the 298,205 total mail in ballots that were issued to registered voters, just over 82,00 have been returned and verified by the Denver Elections Division, as of 4:50 p.m.

Berrick Abramson, campaign manager for the Mejia campaign, told HuffPost:

I think there have certainly been three issues voters are tuned into, one is the budget--you know, the $100 million shortfall, and how we're going to impact that, the police department has had some high profile safety issues, and there are a lot of people talking about education, which the mayor can't do anything about, as a significant curator in job developments.

We did 50-plus forums for this campaign and those ranged from everything to visiting parks and neighborhood organizations. It's a spring election and an off year--but I think the active voters have paid attention and tuned in.

Michael Hancock's spokeswoman Amber Miller tells HuffPost that the mail-in system hasn't been as straightforward to voters.

I think we constantly describe two main reasons why it has been harder to engage voters. One is this is an off-election we just had one of the biggest senate races in the nation in terms of coverage, so it's been hard to get people to re-engage. And this being a mail in ballot election, and the mailing-in system has been different for people to get used to. It hasn't been as straightforward to people. So we've been trying to help people figure it out.

Romer Campaign spokeswoman Laura Chapin told HuffPost that Chris Romer has strived to reach all the voters on foot, reminiscent of former Mayor Wellington Webb, because the strategy seems to be most attractive to Denver voters.

"It is just about getting out there and talking with as many voters as possible. Denver is one of those areas where you have to get out there and talk with people where they work and where they live," Chapin said. "We are anticipating that this is going to be a close election. This is one of those elections where you cannot take anything for granted."

Voters have until 7 p.m. this evening to turn in their ballots to one of the 13 full-service voter centers.