Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Election Connection

On Monday, January 15, the Denver Election Commission will start collecting mail-in ballots for the special, one-item election that Denver City Council approved on December 26. But before Denver voters can start turning in those ballots that could make Denver the 63rd out of 64 Colorado counties with an elected clerk and recorder, they need to get them in their mailboxes.

And before that, the DEC has to sign off on the printing job now under way at Sequoia's facility in Porterville, California. In the past, Denver ballots have been plagued with missing races (one for RTD in November), juxtaposed yes/no boxes (on an initiative last November), wrong dates and incorrect postage estimates -- and such errors are just one of the reasons that the DEC, currently composed of two elected commissioners and one appointed by the mayor, is the focus of this election.

One of the other reasons is Sequoia, which can't seem to fight its way out of a paper ballot.

And so today, Alton Dillard, the DEC's communications director, was headed to California, to personally witness the ballots coming off the press. "If we can't get one question right..." he said. At the very least, he should demand a recount.

Assuming the ballots look good, they'll be mailed out on Saturday, Monday at the latest -- the deadline for them showing up in local mailboxes is Tuesday, January 16. The date for the election itself is January 30 -- two weeks later.

Can the city get all ballots out and back in in two weeks? That's about how long it took the DEC just to count the results in the November 7 election. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun