Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My feet stink

And I vote!

Update: The Post: "CHAOS: "Voting extension denied amid massive computer problems":

Denver District Court Judge Sheila Rappaport denied a emergency request from the Democratic Party to keep Denver's voting centers open for an additional two hours this evening due to faulty computers.

Attorney Mark Grueskin, representing the Democrats, had asked the court to extend the voting hours to 9 p.m., because voters were becoming disenfranchised from the numerous incidents of computers crashing and because of the abnormally long lines at the polls . . . .

Widespread computer problems were reported, some shutting down entire voting centers, but the problems appeared to ease after 2 p.m.

The line at our polling place was almost a block long at 1:00, and the system was down. But it was sunny and 75 degrees, and I had a book to read.

Unfortunately, the guy behind me in line was our city-issued neighborhood "character," "Darryl." He's about what you'd expect. Rides around on an old Schwinn. Collects cans. Smells like rancid beer. Not crazy, exactly, but not quite compost mentis either.

Apparently Darryl's gone off his meds (literally!), because he was much loopier than usual today. For one thing, he talked the whole time, loudly and to no one in particular, about how he was going to vote for John Salazar--who actually represents the western half of the state (sort of), so Darryl couldn't possibly vote for him.

Every five minutes a poll worker came out to apprise newcomers of the situation. (The actual machines were working fine, she said, but the internet connection they used to verify registered voters had crashed.) Every single time she came out, "Darryl" would bellow, "Show of hands!" The second or third time he did this the worker snapped, "show of hands for what?"

"SHOW OF HANDS!" Darryl yelled. Darryl's breath, needless to say, was as the breath of the dead.

The woman in front of me, "Darrylene," had her ten-year-old kid with her. He didn't complain once, spent the whole time chasing leaves falling from the trees. Darrylene, on the other hand (show of hands!), would occasionally turn to the 4-foot-6 Costco worker in front of her and say, darkly, "Bet we know who's responsible for this," or, "They're probably on the phone to Diebold right now."


"They probably typed in some sort of code to crash the computers."

The Post concludes:
Denver Election Commission spokesman Alton Dillard said there was no systemwide failures and that the delays were being caused by heavy voter turnout combined with "congestion" in the computer network used to confirm voter registeration. "It's our application. It got overloaded," Dillard said.
Update: The D-a-W waited 90 minutes to cast her vote at 6:30. She said the connection went down again for a few minutes, but mainly the place was just crowded. Highly unusual.

Update II: Registeration?

Update III: The News: "Auditor blasts Denver election panel for voting problems":

Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher sent a scathing letter to the Denver Election Commission today about its disastrous management of the election, which left voters turning away in disgust and frustration at long lines and inoperable computers.

Voters waited for up to two hours to cast ballots in Denver, primarily because the election commission placed only four computers in each vote center to check whether a citizen could vote. That created a huge logjam.

At the vote center at Augusta Lutheran Church, 5000 E. Alameda Ave., a Rocky Mountain News reporter waited an hour to vote in late morning because there were only four computers to check the electronic poll book for voters' identity. The center had 23 computerized voting machines, which worked fine; it was the shortage of laptops for checking voter registration that created a line of 80 people.

Election commissioner Susan Rogers said they didn't have enough laptops at each voting center to check voter registration, and the servers being accessed by those laptops to check voter information went down twice in the afternoon because they were overloaded with requests from the vote centers.

Rogers said the voter registration software was manufactured by Sequoia, the same company that made the city's voting machines. She said this is the first time any city has used the software. However, Rogers did not blame the software. She suggested the servers might need to be upgraded.

Update IV: "Gallagher: fire election officials":
Denver woke up today with a bad hangover, after embarrassing computer glitches prevented thousands of residents from voting, piles of absentee ballots still to be counted and a call for heads to roll.

Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher today asked that Denver's two elected voting commissioners - Susan Roger and Sandy Adams - resign and that the mayor fire Clerk and Recorder Wayne Vaden as well as the entire senior staff of the election commission, including executive director John Gaydeski . . . .

Gallagher said Tuesday's mistakes were so severe that he questioned the outcome of some races.

"We may never know what the real outcome of some of those races were," he said . . . .

"I can't believe I'm in the United States of America," said Sean Kelly, a Denver resident who gave up and went home after waiting three hours in line at a polling place Tuesday.

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