UPDATED 11-9-2006: Talk about the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
The Denver Election Commission has made the headlines in Colorado Confidential many times (to search page,) so as Election Day draws near, we wanted to catch up to Lisa Jones, a self-proclaimed DEC watch-dog.Q: Who are you in regards to why you have made the Denver Election Commission the target of your blog site, VoterJones.com? Did you have any personal experiences that instigated this mission?
A: Election administration is eye-glazing stuff, but races aren’t necessarily won or lost at the polls. When I worked as temp for a few weeks at the DEC in May 2003, I got a glimpse of how election administration can affect the results.
Later, I stayed in touch with friends from the DEC and was alarmed by some of their reports. When I heard earlier this year that the DEC had misplaced 150,000 voter records, I blogged about it.
Since then, the topic has become a grim hobby for me.
Q: What are your top three concerns in the 2006 election?
A: The Commission is incompetent, incompetent and incompetent.
A good example is their “inadvertent” failure to include the race for RTD District N on the November ballot. Admittedly, the Secretary of State’s office blew it, too, by failing to catch the error until after the ballot was certified.
I see ample evidence that DEC officials don’t know what the hell they’re doing. I’m trying to catalog this evidence on VoterJones.
Q: Do you see any improvement leading up to the 2006 Election Day? Is anyone listening to you?
A: Increased scrutiny of the DEC is an improvement, and that’s what I’m seeing.
Most readers of VoterJones use IP addresses registered to the City and County of Denver. Many city officials are deeply unsettled by problems at the DEC. Granted, some are so sick of the lies and incompetence that they’re done caring. Some want to sweep the the problems under the rug. Many want to do something and are making their influence felt, although their hands are tied.
As public awareness builds, I think we’ll see a mandate for real accountability and transparency at the DEC.
Q: What is on your “wish list” for this election and the following? How far will you take this watch-dog approach to the Denver Election Commission?
A: Unfortunately, it’s too late for Jimmy Carter or a team from IFES to oversee Denver’s election administration this November. I’m only half kidding when I say that.
Serious ballot errors have already been made, and the votes have yet to be counted. I haven’t even mentioned concerns related to machines, vote centers and the electronic poll book. In terms of ensuring integrity and accuracy of the vote, I think this election may be over.
That assertion freaks people out, and public officials will swear I’m exaggerating. Denver’s mistakes won’t affect the governor’s race (probably), but the reliability of Denver’s results has been eroded nonetheless.
I’m still going to vote, of course. There’s no excuse for not voting.
I’ll keep VoterJones.com alive until I see substantial improvement at the DEC. I’m looking forward to May 2007 when Denver voters will have a chance to choose two new Election Commissioners.