November 14 2004, 8:17 AM
Before the election we heard many dire warnings of potential fraud by ineligible voters or voters who might attempt to cast multiple votes. Governor Bill Owens issued stern threats of prosecution, and Secretary of State Donetta Davidson's Election 2004 web page featured "Voter Fraud Investigations" as the top item. Owens and Davidson were accused of attempting to throw a close Colorado presidential election to George W. Bush. As it turns out, the biggest problem in our election year wasn't ineligible or multiple voters. The biggest problem was eligible voters being turned away due to mistakes by undertrained poll workers, or voters not receiving absentee ballots until it was too late to vote. Matters weren't helped by the fact that Secretary of State Davidson issued four different sets of election rules during the final days before the election -- as late as October 22, a full week into the early-voting period. As the Big Horn Center's Mary Wickersham points out in today's Denver Post, "One uncounted vote from an eligible voter has statistically and philosophically the same effect on the integrity of an election system as one fraudulent vote." Now that the partisan heat of the campaign is over, it is a good time for the two major parties to work together to fix the system so that not only will all votes counted be legitimate, but all legitimate votes will be counted.