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Oh, Sorry for the Accountability

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One of the members of Denver’s Election Commission (DEC) tells the Rocky Mountain News that she’s “sick and tired of the criticism” leveled at the DEC over the debacle of an election it ran last Tuesday:

Commissioner Sandy Adams declared that reporters digging into what happened last Tuesday are “looking for dirt. You’re not looking for good things.”

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“I’m just sick that everyone’s picking on Denver when we have 19 other counties that had vote centers and had as long, if not longer, lines.”

Asked for the names of the counties with longer lines, she pointed to Douglas County. “They had voting at 1:30 the next morning,” she said.

I agree with Adams. She says that reporters are only looking for bad things, and she’s right. They should instead be focusing on the fact that when so many people had to wait in line for hours in order to vote — because of faulty equipment and preparation — they ended up making new friends. Long lines on Election Day are a good thing, because they generate a sense of community. You know, like, “Hey, this sucks, but we’re all in it together!” That’s really great. Really, very, great and good.

Instead of criticizing commission technology chief Anthony Rainey, who was thrown under the bus for the Election Day problems and placed on administrative leave by the DEC, reporters should be focusing on the fact that, even though Rainey may not have done a very good job, at least he’s learning about these new systems in time for the citywide elections in the spring. And while they’re at it, the press should be praising the DEC for its quick thinking in making Rainey the scapegoat. Sure, Rainey may have lied on his resume and wasn’t prepared for Election Day. And sure, he was the only person who had access to the computer codes that handled the system, which made it impossible to get anyone else to help, but that’s his problem, not the problem of the group charged with overseeing him. Right? Guys? Anyone?

The press should definitely focus on the fact that, even though many people gave up on trying to vote, there were obviously a lot of people who did vote. That’s good, right? Guys? Anyone?

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Sure, that’s good news. My grandmother went to her old polling place on Election Day in East Denver, saw that it was no longer a polling place (as it had been for decades), and went home. She didn’t know what to do or where to go. But hey, my grandmother doesn’t need to vote. She’s done it before. Many times, in fact. Why should she get to vote in every frickin’ election?

Even though Denver is still counting ballots today, the press should really be talking about how meticulous the DEC has been in counting ballots. All of those other dumb counties counted their ballots on Election Day. To really get it right, you should take several weeks to count them. Right? Guys? Anyone?

And why is the press paying so much attention to voting problems in Denver, as Adams says? She told the News that her sister had voting troubles in Washington D.C. I also recall a certain election in Afghanistan that didn’t go very well. Sstupid press, always more concerned with those dumb local stories. Go talk about Iraq’s elections, damnit!

Okay, I’ve run out of sarcasm. I hope the press rakes Adams and the rest of the DEC over the coals for the next two years until they get it right. Why is the press focusing on the negative? Why?

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BECAUSE YOU VERY NEARLY DESTROYED THE ENTIRE ELECTORAL PROCESS IN COLORADO, THAT’S WHY!!!

Sorry for the yelling, but this is a very sacred thing we are talking about. This is about our DEMOCRACY, and it involves the most populous city in the state. If Denver has voting problems, because of its sheer number of voters, the outcomes of several races will be affected. This isn’t just about Denver – this is about the entire state.

How would you feel if the candidate you supported lost the race because Denver couldn’t figure out how to make an election run – and they have an ENTIRE FREAKIN’ COMMISSION whose only job is to make elections work. The DEC’s failure is like having a punter on a football team who can’t kick a ball more than seven yards; if you have one job, and you can’t do that job, then what are you doing here?

The press and the public have every right to scream bloody murder about this, and Adams and the others should shut up and take it. The Denver Election Commission screwed up, they screwed up badly, and they screwed up even though everyone knew they were going to screw up. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and again, and again until it sinks in: It was inevitable that this would happen. The August primary in Denver was a complete disaster for the voting process, but fortunately, the DEC had three months to fix the problems. And they didn’t. What was it going to take to wake these clowns up?

People all over the state should be furious about this. The Mayor needs to do something drastic, because his butt is on the line here, too. And the DEC needs to face the music. They completely botched the one job they have, and now they have the nerve to tell people to “stop picking on them?”

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The whole damn bunch should be booted off the commission and we should just start over. What do we have to lose? What’s the downside? A bunch of people might not be able to vote if we install a new commission? Oh, wait, that already happened.

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