Friday, October 10, 2008

The Old, The New, The Sorta-New

Update: On Oct 14, the AP reported Denver opted to double its voting booths.

Balloting In CO, NY And Other Key, Fired-Up States
Coloradans will become guinea pigs in a statewide voting experiment this fall that begins this week and carries through to Election Day. That's because many of the state's residents will be making their choice for president by sending ballots by mail rather than lining up at the polls.

Colorado is one of only four in the country that has made mail-ins a permanent option for voters but the idea is already picking up steam in Iowa, New Mexico and elsewhere. For Coloradans, though, it rides the heels of a "glitch’" in 2006 in which thousands in Denver and surrounding neighborhoods waited for hours while a new electronic voter database system stalled and had to be booted back up. “If the computers go down and the line stops moving, maybe a volunteer will buy me pizza,” the state’s Dem Senator Ken Gorden mused this past month on his blog, in an effort to stir up support for mail-in voting.

(Photos of Washington's Inauguration, New York, 1789 provided courtesy of
Free Clipart or Photos: and the Library of Congress. More on Washington's inaugural address and the text of his speech here.)

Colorado has 215,000 new voters this season, 60 percent of whom appear to be planning a showing Nov.4. What will they find? Nobody seems to entirely know for sure. And stunningly, it seems new voters are hardly the state’s greatest concern. Laws mandating the number of machines each county must have on-hand don’t exist there as they do in other states, so officials now surmise counties will be scrimmaging for machines, pens and pencils, potentially, on an ad-hoc basis. State officials have reportedly ordered more voter ‘stuff’ since 2006 so that’s at least good to hear. But this time around, voters will either use digital or optical-scanners depending on where they live. It could also affect how long they wait (electronic voting is expected to take longer than voting on paper? geez seriously?!) but this means they'll vote either by using (1) touch-screen machines or (2) paper-and-pencil ballots fed into optical scanners. However, before state leaders address these troubles, they will need to deal first with the state's the latest controversy over the voting rolls. It seems, according to the New York Times, that 37,000 voters may have been purged illegally. The story was reported yesterday and officials now say they're looking into it.

Speaking of New Yorkers, the Empire State is the only one in the Union that has dissed the idea of new machines entirely, so those of us who live here will be the only ones listening to levers cranking. Not that that’s a bad thing– at least some of us will have more than a passing idea of how voting will work this time. And yet, that's only if all our registrations are processed in time since it seems the Board of Elections has been struggling to keep up with - you guessed it - new voters.

In the meanwhile, Denver officials aren’t fazed nor are they holding back. City Councilwoman Carol Boigon was flustered when the governor made a statement that mail-in ballots would serve Colorado state well by preventing it from being the one that keeps the rest of us up Election Night. According to her, mail-in voting was “not exactly Denver's message”. Other city officials have said they don't believe they'll be finished counting ballots by election night anyway.

So break out the flannel folks and dial the pizza guy. Sounds like the spills on E-Day won't be mopped away, not just yet, in any case.

More soon on voting regulations, machines and rolls across the country particularly in the nine other swing states, so stay tuned.. and I look forward to hearing and reading your thoughts.

Happy election season to you all.

1 comment:

Teague said...


Thanks for the informative and interesting article. It's such a shame that we are still ironing out kinks in the process during such a pivotal voting year. It's great that you are tracking this in all the swing states. Hope we don't have too many shenanigans this time. =-)


p.s. by the way, big hugs to you and hubby. =-)