Gigi Waiting Until The Last Minute

The deadline for the Secretary of State, Republican Gigi Dennis to certify the results of the 2006 midterm elections is the close of business today.  As of a few minutes before noon, this task still isn’t completed.

The delay is puzzling.  While state law sets a deadline, there is no requiement that the Secretary of State wait until the last minute.  Historically, the Secretary of State’s office has provided preliminary results on their website on election day, and then not waited until the very last minute to certify the results.  This year no preliminary results have been provided and the certified results still aren’t available at the Secretary of State’s website.  The task at this stage of the game isn’t particularly daunting.Basically, county clerks and recorders (or election commissions in Denver and Broomfield) had to submit their certified results to the Secretary of State early this week.  This provides a nice clean summary of the results in each county as a data source.  Each one should be only half a dozen pages or less long in a format prescribed by the Secretary of State.

No news outlets have reported any pending legal battles over the certification of the results in any Colorado county.

In races confined to a single county, the Secretary of State’s job is to rubber stamp the results.

In statewide races, it is simply a matter of putting the certified county results from each of the state’s 64 jurisdictions into a spreadsheet in each of the 24 statewide races, and putting a smaller number of results into a spreadsheet for multi-county legislative races.

The spreadsheet then tallies the final vote in each race and determines the percentage gap between the front runner and the runner up in each rate. 

Once this is done, the Secretary of State lists the names of the winners, flags any races close enough to require a recount and orders the recounts, and rubber stamps the results.  The Secretary of State has several more weeks to provide turnout figures.

The entire process should be something that a single person is capable of doing in a single morning.  An afternoon spent having another person proof read the results could complete the process. 

Most of the relevant information is already in place with forms from prior elections and the candidates lists prepared in anticipation of this election.  Everything but the final numbers to put in the spreadsheet, list of winners and losers, and list of recount jurisdictions could have been prepared in the more than two week post-election period in which the Elections Division is waiting for county results. 

The reason Gigi Dennis has waited until the last minute is unclear.

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Andrew Oh-Willeke

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