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Election officials back up director
By Chris Frates, Denver Post Staff Writer, November 28. 2006

Despite last month's botched election, two Denver election commissioners stood behind the executive director's performance Tuesday at their first meeting since the vote.

"Would you consider making any changes of the executive director, considering the debacle on Election Day?" audience member Lisa Jones asked. "Are you completely satisfied with Mr. (John) Gaydeski's performance?"

Commissioners Susan Rogers and Sandy Adams supported Gaydeski, with Adams adding that the bulk of the problems Gaydeski has apologized for were in place before he took the job in May.

The third commissioner Wayne Vaden, who is also Denver clerk and recorder, did not weigh in, having already left.

Jones asked what the consequences are for the commissioners. Before Adams could answer, an audience member interrupted.

Denver's general election earlier this month was plagued by long lines caused by computer failures and printing problems that delayed vote counting.

The Denver Election Commission overran its budget by more than $1 million. Gaydeski said Tuesday that the city's election vendor, Sequoia Voting Systems, would pick up the tab for the extra labor costs associated with vote counting.

In the election's aftermath, Vaden resigned, effective at year's end, and commission technology director Anthony Rainey was put on administrative leave.

Asked about Rainey's current status, Gaydeski said the commission was waiting for the results of an audit. Officials were also asked if they had 100 percent confidence in Rainey's ability before the election.

"One hundred percent is pretty high," Gaydeski said.

Also Tuesday, City Auditor Dennis Gallagher sent a letter to Gaydeski asking why he used commission, instead of city, purchase orders to pay for software. He wrote that he will not pay any Sequoia voucher until he has deemed it appropriate.

Gaydeski said the commission can generate its own purchase orders as an independent agency.

The audience members, mostly poll workers and interest- group representatives, ticked off other problems they saw, including voters from other counties given provisional ballots even though the votes wouldn't count.

Carol Tone, an election supervisor at the Tattered Cover, said it was "inhumane" how long poll workers had to sit in front of computers.

"No human being can sit at a computer from 7 in the morning til 9:30 at night and not make errors," Tone said.

Quizzed about the contingency plan, operations manager Matt Crane said parts of the plan were in place, such as the phone bank set up to answer questions.

But it was unclear whether the backup voter files that were supposed to be installed on each laptop ever were, Crane said.


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