New Voting Machine Gliches in Denver

Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff was the second person to try to vote on a new machine at Washington Park, but his vote for himself did not print properly.

“It’s definitely a little concerning,” Romanoff said. “I’m the only one running in my race, so if I lose I will really be concerned.”

While tongue in cheek, Romanoff’s quip reflects real bumps in the road in implementing a new voting system in Denver.  The center at the Botanic Gardens had a two hour delay.  My own experience I recount below.In today’s election in Denver, the method is the message. Before today, an election meant to a trip to your neighborhood precinct voting location, in my case Steele Elementary School, to vote with your neighbors. Today, the City and County has 47 voting centers (far fewer than the previous number of precincts), but you can go to any of them to vote.

I went to the nearest one, the Washington Park Recreation Center, having been twarted in my effort to early vote at the District 3 Police Station by a confusing notice from the election commission which led me to believe that that location was open sooner than it actually did.

The most notable part was no the matter which makes vote centers novel. There were a few more electronic voting machines at my locations, and they now came in two different styles, but I was more struck by the need to present ID and have it written down on a voter card. This was taken in turn to an official (one of several) who looked up the proper form of ballot for my precinct, wrote it on a slip of paper with no identifying information and sent me to a voting machine. Everyone present when I was there had a driver’s license to present, so I didn’t get to see what would have happened if someone has presented an alternate form of ID or forget to bring any ID.

The process of voting itself (I used an old style machine) was straight forward. The only difference from previous occasions was that the official entered a code for my ballot style into the machine before I went to vote. Lights lit up under the tet of races and issues where I was allowed to vote. The candidate part was trivial, as I had no choices. The sole ballot issue, Denver Referendum 1A on the Xcel Energy Franchise, took greater effort before hand, to make up my mind, but it took only a moment to press the button. The Republican side of the ballot (unlit in my case) was remarkable for how many races had no candidate in them. This must be depressing for them.

I told a neighbor who is unaffiliated that there was an election she could vote in today, which surprised her, because she thought that only people affliated with political parties could vote today — one more reason that the timing of Referendum 1A was really not appropriate. Save ballot issues for races where people actually show up please.

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Andrew Oh-Willeke

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