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New voting system off to bumpy start
By George Merritt
Denver Post Staff Writer

Denver's new system of voting got off to a bumpy start today as poll workers fumbled with new electronic machines and computer system logjams.

The relatively low turnout for the primary gave election workers the option of letting voters use older, working machines when newer models would not operate, but Denver Election Commission Judge Lori Chappell noted, "can you imagine if this was in November?"

With this election marking the debut of new, centralized vote centers and equipment in Denver, workers were unable to get new machines working at the Washington Park Recreation Center. When they finally thought they had the machines up and running, there were immediate problems.

Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff was the second person to try to vote on a new machine at Washington Park, but his vote for himself did not print properly.

"It's definitely a little concerning," Romanoff said. "I'm the only one running in my race, so if I lose I will really be concerned."

A computer system that tracks registered voters also overloaded and caused some sites to be down for 30 minutes or more.

Election Commission officials said at 9 a.m. that computer problems had been fixed. They also said the problems at Washington Park were isolated and the result of human error when the machines were set up.

But even as they said that, new machines at the Denver Botanic Gardens were sitting unused.

Election Commissioner Sandy Adams had to show poll workers how to boot the machines in order to get them running. By the time they fired up, polls had been open more than two hours.

And even she mis-programmed a voting card for a voter.

That voter - who did not want to identify himself by name - said his voting experience went "very, very, very poorly.

"I don't have much confidence that my vote counted. I had no privacy. It was flawed from beginning to end."


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