Last-minute voters swell rolls

Long lines greeted people at Denver voting centers and drop-off sites Tuesday, with a number registering to vote under the state’s new law allowing voters to register up to and on Election Day.

Lucie Coleman waited in line for nearly an hour at the DaVita world headquarters in downtown Denver, getting caught in a delay when the Statewide Colorado Registration and Election system shut down. The shutdown over technical problems began at about 2 p.m. and lasted about 15 minutes.

Coleman said she stood in line with about 30 people and that two election officials were registering people to vote.

“I did finally get to the front and registered, and I did vote,” said Coleman, who recently moved to Denver. “There were probably three other people right around me at the time who were registering.”

DaVita officials saw long lines all day.

At Christ Church United Methodist at 690 Colorado Blvd., a steady line of cars dropped off ballots at the outside drop-off location and voters stood in line to cast ballots inside as well. Election officials said “several” people had registered to vote. Officials at the drop-off location outside said it had been “pretty consistently busy all day.”

Election officials at the outside drop-off site at Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center at 3334 Holly St. said they had been filling an average of two large red ballot boxes a day but by 1 p.m. were already on their fourth box. They said several people had asked about registering to vote and were sent inside to the center.

Honoring a longstanding family tradition to vote on Election Day, Kirk Weinert stood in line with about 40 people for about half an hour at the Highland Recreation Center at 2880 Osceola St.

“This is the longest I’ve had to wait in an off-year election,” Weinert said.

“Denver is an Election Day phenomenon,” said Denver Election Commission spokesman Alton Dillard. “Everything is going pretty smoothly. We’re getting folks processed in about a 20-minute window.”

Dillard said it was “hard to capture the number of people registering today, but people are taking advantage of the fact that they can register up to and including Election Day.”

As of Saturday, the city had issued 362,229 ballots and 137,368, or nearly 38 percent, had been returned and verified, according to Denver voting records. Some 3,565 Denver residents had registered to vote between Oct. 22 and Monday, for a total of 361,565 registered voters.

is a veteran journalist based in Denver. She worked at Sentinel Newspapers and spent more than 17 years at the Rocky Mountain News covering politics, government and business, among myriad other topics.