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November 15, 2006 05:40 PM UTC

Denver Turnout At Least 18,000 Votes Low

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Jeff Cook, who started a Web site,, to chronicle the problems, said he believes the number of voters turned away is even higher. “I’ve never seen such motivation.”

Stephen Ludwig’s attempt to become a University of Colorado regent is still undecided and could have turned on those missing votes.

“Clearly, no one has an exact way to figure out how many people walked away in disgust,” said Ludwig, a Democrat. He is thus far pulling 66 percent of the vote in Democratic Denver. So an additional 18,000 votes there likely could have meant 12,000 for him and 6,000 for opponent Brian Davidson.

“If I lose, can we look at the fiasco in Denver and say, ‘That made a difference?’ I think the answer is yes,” Ludwig said.


16 thoughts on “Denver Turnout At Least 18,000 Votes Low

      1. ..with ohwilleke. Sen. Maj. Leader totally trumps City Clerk. Plus, Ken Gordon has been great at every position he has held in the legislature and I am sure will continue to do so over the next two years. GO KEN!

  1. According to the Denver Post (“Vote panel overhaul pushed,” 11/12), Hickenlooper derailed an effort to re-structure the Denver Election Commission pro-actively:

    “Denver officials are looking into converting the Denver Election Commission – currently a three-member commission made up of two elected commissioners and a clerk and recorder appointed by the mayor – to a system of one elected clerk and recorder. But it is not the first time the change has been considered:

    In 2005 Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez and Colorado Common Cause wrote a bill to put elections under an elected clerk and recorder. A majority of the City Council approved the bill on its first reading before them.

    But Rodriguez killed the bill, later saying she did so under pressure from Mayor John Hickenlooper.

    Hickenlooper said he was responding to concerns from housing title companies that worried the new system would hurt efficiency in the clerk’s office.”

    Now Hickenlooper is trying to dance around responsibility for this debacle, saying he didn’t have authority, the DEC rebuffed efforts to help, appointing a commission to investigate, etc.  It is obvious he tried to sweep the problem under the rug and it came back and bit him in the butt. 

    After what we’ve been through with voter disenfranchisement in 2000 and 2004 elections, and lack of advance planning despite warnings in New Orleans, this type of performance is unacceptable for Denver and for any elected official who thinks he is ready for prime time. I’m still furious. 

    1. is not a good solution, particularly, if it drags previously non-partisan function in the city and county of Denver, like real estate recording, marriage licenses and license plate processing, into the mix.

      There is no doubt that something is deeply wrong with the Election Commission.  But, an elected clerk and recorder would be even more independent than the current election commission, and a lack of independence is not the problem that Denver is experiencing.

      Also, in Denver, an elected clerk and recorder would mean that the chief election official would, in practice, be chosen at the Denver County Democratic Party assembly, each year, and that body has, alas, an inherent tendency to respect incumbents even when they don’t deserve it.

      1. the mayor, auditor and city council are all elected in a non-partisan election.  why would you assume that the clerke would be done otherwise. the proposal of both Rosemary Rodriguez and Dennis Gallagher make the election a non partisan one.

        sheesh, people want to start rumors that have no foundation in fact.

        1. proposal was.  The idea of having an elected clerk and recorder was to copy the model used in other counties in Colorado (other than the City and County of Broomfield), so it is a reasonable concern.

          1. Gallagher is asking for imput from several sources to be considered while drafting the charter change. I was among those he asked and I kept my comments to technical considerations concerning teh transition from Commission to Clerk, if it happens.

            I also pointed out that I am not yet sure I would support changing the format. There are positives and negatives to both systems, but I am not convinced that one is actually beeter than the other.

  2. To my knowledge Denver elected officials (mayor, council, election commission etc) are not formally party-affiliated so the county recorder wouldn’t necessarily be a partisan hack (which often is the case in Chicago).

    Since the proposal of elected county recorder was signed off by Common Cause, I have a measure of confidence that at least the intent is to insure a fair process and responsive to voters.

    The concern about non-election aspects of the clerk office is valid–perhaps a division of responsibility as recently proposed for chief financial officer versus city auditor is a solution.  My guess is that concerns about paying for extra staff may be what caused the mayor to sideline the proposal in the first place.

    I spoke mainly from frustration of putting a significant effort into getting out the vote only to see it (partially) subverted despite multiple indivduals warning in advance of potential dysfunction of the system.

    1. but, had repeatedly proposed flawed solutions to real problems.

      Colorado’s campaign finance regime, which they backed on got on the ballot, brought us the LLC loophole.  It has also produced a criminalization of politics, where malice and sloppiness receive similar treatment.

      Amendment 41, which just passed, is so overbroad that it severely impairs the free speech and daily life of all sorts of government employees and government contractors who have absolutely no policy making authority.  It is one thing to ban gifts, even when they have no obvious quid pro quo, to legislators who can be pretty sneaky about such things.  It is quite another to extend regulation to firemen, janitors and asphalt subcontractors, as Amendment 41 does.

      The progressive movement that brought us elected Secretaries of State, a constitutional decision that brought us Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris, thought that having elected officials run elections was a way to reduce corruption.  It didn’t work then, and I doubt that it will work now.

      Corruption is an inherent problem in politics.  It needs to be addressed.  But, instead of backing proposals like giving legislators staffers so they don’t need to rely on lobbyists for information, and putting into place some sort of public financing for elections, so that candidates not beholden to special interests can get into people’s consciousness, Common Cause has clung to far less effective approaches.

    2. If anyone thinks a Republican would win a city-wide election in Denver, they are deluding themselves, even if the R is not one the ballot next to their name.

      When I ran for Election Commissioner in the 90’s I was always being asked my party. It does matter to voters even though city officials are technically elected on a non-partisan basis.

  3. Pretty soon you are talking the possibility of real election fraud.


    I really love this tin foil hat site, he has amused me for several years.  But as they say, just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you don’t have reason to be. 

    Daniel Hopsicker has also been showing those who have ears (is that a mixed metaphor?) how corrupt the entire voting machine business is.  How many guys have gone to jail, know each other, massage each other, etc.

    1. It is easy enough to corrupt paper ballots if you have a mind to do so.  Tammany Hall and Mayor Daley managed just fine without any electronic assistance.

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