| News |

Denver stopped processing new voters just as the DNC arrived

Does Uncle Sam really want you to vote?
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Voter registration drives have descended on Denver in the last few months. You can now find eager young volunteers tempting you with voter applications at Whole Foods, at the corner of Colfax and Broadway, even in line for ice cream at Liks.

These foot soldiers for democracy help you fill out the proper forms and then hand you an official-looking receipt. Within twenty days, you’re supposed to receive an "official information card" from the county Clerk and Recorder’s office confirming that you are, indeed, registered to vote.

Alas, my card never arrived. And when I called the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office, I got a strange explanation: My registration had never been processed, the lady said... but it might not have been the registration drive’s fault.

Apparently, the clerk’s office was not allowed to process new registrations for thirty days before or after the August 12 primary. Since I filled out my form at the end of July, I was out of luck. They’re just now wading through those applications, and they might not have come across mine yet.

According to Alton Dillard, PR specialist for the clerk’s office, this sixty-day "black-out period" around the primary was required by state law. The Secretary of State doesn’t want anyone messing with voting records while primary votes are still being counted.

Which makes sense, except that the timing couldn’t be worse. The blackout arrived smack in the middle of the DNC -- when tons of new people presumably decided to register. And it could cause a backlog right before a huge, historic November election.

New voters must now rush to register by October 6. And how will they know if their paperwork goes through? Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, says not to worry. Hold on to your registration receipt, and that should be proof enough for your polling place.

Then hold your breath, cross your fingers, and hope your vote counts. -- Lisa Rab

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.