Denver City Council Will Decide What To Do With Election Commission

The Denver City Council, with its newly elected president, has a tough decision to make about democracy in the Mile High city. It can restructure the city’s Election Commission completely, or it can investigate the failures and go about ways to fix them. Either way, there’s no denying that there are problems.

A little over a month ago, 150,000 voter files with personal information were found to be missing from the Commission offices. It was also reported that the Commission did not publicly announce the incident until approximately three months after the discovery. That, compounded with 13,000 absentee ballots being mailed out late in the 2004 election, has encouraged some public officials to try and revamp the entire process. Again.Denver is one of two counties in the state where the city’s Election Commission consists of three people: a Clerk and Recorder appointed by the mayor, and two other members elected by the public. Last year, former council president Rosemary Rodriguez partnered with the non-profit group Common Cause to pass litigation that would make the Clerk and Recorder an elected position, and an overseer and appointer for other election officials  It failed however, when 12 council members voted against it (with one abstention), unsure of certain provisions.

But with the file fiasco from last June, a government taskforce has been created to address the issue, and is currently getting input from the public.

Discussion dates and locations:

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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