Updated: Dems lose emergency court appeal to keep polls open

A mid-afternoon hiccup in Colorado’s voter registration system led the state Democratic Party to try to extend voting hours in Colorado for another two hours.

Colorado Democrats filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court late Tuesday afternoon against Secretary of State Wayne Williams, whose office runs the voter registration system. The suit sought a two-hour extension on the polls – from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A judge has rejected that demand and the polls will close at 7:00, as scheduled.

The suit stemmed from a glitch at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday when the state’s voter registration system went down for about 30 minutes.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels tweeted that Williams is opposed to keeping the polls open another two hours, saying, “The outage didn’t stop anyone from voting. We have had two weeks of voting and and everyone got a ballot. We have no reports of long lines and anyone in line at 7 [p.m.] can still vote.”

This is the first year Colorado has had an all mail-ballot election for a presidential contest. Ballots were mailed from county clerks to active voters in their counties on Oct. 17. Early voting started a week later at voting service centers around the state.

There were only a few reports of long lines at polling places earlier Tuesday. And state law allows for anyone in line at 7 p.m. to vote, no matter how long it takes.

A second problem, unrelated to the Denver lawsuit, is unfolding in Pueblo County. Election officials there have not been able to count ballots for six hours – and counting. Pueblo is one of 18 counties that is trying out a new, and somewhat controversial voting system, for the first time. The voting system, developed by Dominion Voting Systems, is the subject of an active lawsuit filed earlier this year by several county clerks and voting systems vendors challenging Williams’ authority to mandate a single voting system.

The Secretary of State’s office said the problems in Pueblo are unrelated to Dominion.

Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz told The Independent that this election’s 4-page ballot was too much for the county’s computer server, and caused it to crash. The problem affects only the counting system and not anyone’s ability to vote, he said.

We’ll update this story when we learn more about the problems in Pueblo.

Photo by Alex, via Creative Commons License, Flickr

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.


  1. Please leave the polls open to ensure every voter has the opportunity to fill out their ballot and participate in this election. This is not about the ego of the Secretary of State.

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