Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Another Committee, Another Show - Denver Election Commission Woes

Another op'nin, another show
In Curtis Park, West Highlands and Belcaro
A chance for stage folks to say hello!
Another op'nin of another show.

Another job that you hope will last
Will make your future forget your past
Another pain where the ulcers grow
Another op'nin of another show.

Four weeks, you rehearse and rehearse
Three weeks, and it couldn't be worse
One week, will it ever be right?
Then out of the hat it's that big first night

The overture is about to start
You cross your fingers and hold your heart
It's curtain time and away we go -
Another op'nin
Just another op'nin of another show!
(Another Opening, Another Show - Cole Porter)

Two communications to City and County of Denver employees with regard to the Mayor's and Denver Election Commission's botched, reprehensible performance on November 7th. Yes, I include the mayor, John Hickenlooper, here, although the spin from the Mayor's Office remains, "Not my job, man." Warning, after warning, after warning about the deficiencies extant with Denver's election process were apparently ignored by Hizzoner. The spin continues. Another committee, another show, another gathering of the usual Joes (Janes).

From: CCD Employee Bulletins
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:14 PM
Subject: City Council Public Hearing on Election: 12/2

Denver City Council

City Council Hosts Public Hearing on December 2nd to examine November 7, 2006 Election
Meeting to gather citizen input on election issues and experiences; Denver Election Commissioners invited.

(DENVER) The Denver City Council will convene a public hearing on Saturday, December 2nd from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Denver City Council Chambers to gather comment on the conduct of the recent November 7th election.

This session will give Denver citizens the opportunity to speak to City Council members about their election experiences, as well as offer recommendations to Council for restoring public trust in the Denver election process. Denver Election Commissioners Wayne Vaden, Sandy Adams and Susan Rogers have been invited to respond to citizen comments at the meeting.

City Council members agreed through a proclamation offered at their November 13, 2006 Council meeting, that the election process in Denver on November 7, was unacceptable. Voters experienced extremely long lines at many vote centers, due to breakdowns in the new “electronic poll book” at the 55 voting centers that replaced 210 neighborhood-based precinct polling places. The Election Commission is still in the process of counting many provisional ballots received in the now week-old election. In the proclamation, Council also thanked Denver citizens for their patience and devotion to the democratic process, despite the overwhelming inconveniences suffered.

Citizens not able to attend this meeting may direct their election concerns to Council members via electronic mail at . The Denver City Council Chamber is located in the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St., Room 451, Denver, Colorado.


From: CCD Employee Bulletins
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:14 PM
Subject: Investigative Panel on Election - Update

Sent on behalf of the Mayor's Office and CityCouncil...

Mayor Hickenlooper and Council President Hancock Launch Investigative Panel on Election Troubles

First Meeting on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

(DENVER) This Wednesday, November 15, 2006, at 3:00 p.m., Mayor John Hickenlooper and City Council President Michael Hancock will convene the short-term, action-oriented investigative panel announced last week to quickly analyze Denver’s election problems and develop actionable solutions that are expected to form the foundation of a proposed charter reform amendment. The hour-and-a-half meeting will take place in the Mayor’s Office (City and County Building, 1437 Bannock, Suite 350), and will be the first of five weekly meetings for the panel. This quick timeline will provide ample time for City Council to consider any Charter change recommendations for the May 2007 municipal ballot.

The broad-based panel of community leaders will review feedback and hear testimony from groups affected by or with perspective on the November 7 election including technology experts, FairVote Colorado, the disabled community, and the political parties. Summaries of feedback from election judges and voters will be provided to the panel, whose members will also have the opportunity to hear public input at City Council’s December 2, 2006, public hearing on the election. More details on the investigative panel’s meeting schedule are included below.

The investigative panel will be composed of the following individuals:

John Hickenlooper Mayor, City and County of Denver

Michael Hancock President, Denver City Council


Dr. Paul Burleson President, Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance
Scott Doyle Clerk and Recorder, Larimer County
Hubert Farbes Attorney/Shareholder, Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber; Former CO Asst. Atty. General
Jenny Flanagan Executive Director, Colorado Common Cause
Dennis Gallagher Auditor, City and County of Denver (invited, participation not yet confirmed)
Dusti Gurule Director, Latina Initiative
Rosemary Marshall Colorado State Representative, House District 8
Richard Notebaert Chairman and CEO, Qwest
Ralph Peterson Chairman and CEO, CH2M Hill
Dan Ritchie Chancellor Emeritus, University of Denver
Rosemary Rodriguez Denver City Councilwoman, District #3; Former Denver Clerk & Recorder
Paula Sandoval Colorado State Senator, Senate District 34
Sandra Shreve President, League of Women Voters of Denver

“From the Charter-mandated governance of the Election Commission to the processes by which they conduct elections to the technology itself - all options are on the table; nothing is sacred,” said Hickenlooper, when he announced the panel last week. “The goal of this group is to evaluate the disconnection between the City’s intentions, our fully expressed expectations and the unacceptable outcomes. We must remove politics from the equation, probe deeply and act quickly.”

By City Charter, the Denver Election Commission is an independent agency over which the Mayor and City Council have no direct control or authority. Currently, two of the three Election Commissioners are independently elected by Denver voters. Together with the Clerk and Recorder, they hire and manage the DEC’s Executive Director.

"While the Mayor, City Council and the community at-large agree that change is necessary, we want to ensure that any proposed reforms fully address all electoral needs without unintended consequences that do more harm than good,” said Council President and Panel Co-Chair Hancock. “This process will provide vital information on which to build reform efforts, and the public airing of information will help to restore public trust in our electoral systems."

Investigative Panel on Elections – Meeting Schedule

Wednesday, November 15 - Establish Context/Governance Assessment: Mayor’s Office

Introductions, overview of panel’s specific goals and objectives of the panel

Overview of current election governance/structure in Denver and history of Denver election process

Review of best practices and process alternatives that comply with legal and regulatory guidance

Discussion of governance alternatives

MEETING TWO - Election Process and Issues: Location TBD

Overview of 11/06 election planning, systems, processes, technology, etc.
Detailed overview of problems that occurred

MEETING THREE – Discussion of Critical Failures: Location TBD

Technology issues: software, servers, voting machines, counting machines
Process issues: capacity, participation, check-in, absentee ballots
Assessment of potential causes for critical failures and needed changes

MEETING FOUR – Discussion of Possible Changes: Location TBD

Management/Staffing – qualifications, compensations, staffing levels, poll workers
Leveraging City’s technology expertise
Elections Process – vote centers vs. precincts vs. mail, etc.

MEETING FIVE – Development of Final Recommendations: Location TBD

# # #


Anonymous said...

Old Hick is good at public hearings and blue ribbon panels. What went wrong with the elections? It should be fun. The City fucked up. Next election don't fuck up. Do the opposite of what you did this time around. Some good letters in the Rocky this morning. Where was the City's Legal Department with that Hiawatha (or whatever the name of that company is) contract? If we are to believe the Auditor, they completely dropped the ball and rubber-stamped the vendor's interests.

In olden days a glimpse of stocking...Anything Goes!

Anonymous said...

Another panel another show....

The most productive thing the panel members could do would be to TALK to every Election Commission employee that ran Denver's well run elections from 2001 to 2003.

A scant few are still employed at the Denver Election Commission and they are easy to find. JUST WALK ACROSS THE STREET from the City & County building and have a little chat.

Others are still in Denver and would LOVE the opportunity to say what REALLY happened after Interim Denver Election Commission director - Lynn Wolfe - was pushed aside in June 2003 and new Executive Director Karon Hatchett took charge of the commission along with Commissioners Sandy Adams, Susan Rogers and Wayne Vaden.

Anonymous said...

This is very confusing...

Why would Hickenlooper endorse a 23 member commission to oversee the 1A abominable preschool program but at the same time consider a 3 member commission - that has lead our elections for 100 years - to be a direct accountability and responsibility problem?

Anonymous said...
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