30 January 2007

Denver Election Commission Scrapped

Denver voters have voted to replace the Denver Election Commission with a Clerk and Recorder position similar to, but not identical to, those in most Colorado counties by a 2-1 margin.

The post will be added to the May 2007 city election, with the new clerk and recorder taking office on July 16, 2007. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote in May, the top two candidates will face off in a run off election. The election process will be essentially identical to that for the Mayor and Auditor. It will not be an offically partisan position (unlike that in other counties) and unlike the position in other counties, it will not include supervision of the DMV, but will include municipal clerk, as well as county clerk responsibilities.

The proposal was motivated by a history over Election Commission screw ups, dating at least to 2004, followed by a truly disasterous election in November of 2006 in which tens of thousands of voters were disenfranchised by long lines caused by faulty software provided by Sequoia, an electronic voting machine supplier. The commission had arrogantly ignored numerous dire warnings that there would be problems. This ballot proposal followed, against the recommendation of the Blue Ribbon panels that looked into the problems and found that they had nothing to do with the structure of the commission.

As I wrote earlier on this blog, I believe that the decision that the voters have now made was a bad idea, but it is unlikely to have serious consequences in the near future. An elected clerk and recorder can run elections, even if it isn't the ideal way for this task to be done.

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