Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On reporting election results

Yesterday I complained that neither I nor the vast majority of voters in Denver's Tuesday election had any idea how to pick a good candidate for municipal clerk and recorder. I want to revise that statement slightly. I now have a pretty good idea of what poor behavior by a clerk and recorder's office looks like. That would be that office's decision to update election results every 90 minutes on election night.

I understand that most of what that office does really doesn't require real-time updating, and the only people checking election returns on election night are journalists, candidates, and nerds like me. And it's good to be careful. But I'm pretty confident that election night is when the office's website gets the bulk of its hits. I can't imagine it's that time-consuming to just throw the most recent results up on the web.

At any rate, the clerk and recorder's race is going to a runoff between Sarah McCarthy and Debra Johnson. Whichever candidate can most credibly promise to provide frequent, accurate vote updates on election nights has my vote.

Update: I am told by some people in the know that I should ease up. After all, the director of the elections division recently left, there were write-in candidates, and there was a surge in ballots on election day, not to mention that they have a small staff and time spent updating a website is time not spent counting ballots. This all may be true, but it's still possible to plan for the inevitable Tuesday crunch. I wonder if the elections division would take in volunteers on election day. Not to count ballots, mind you, but to help report numbers. It wouldn't be that hard to create a user-friendly computer template that allows volunteers to update the results as ballots are counted. I'd volunteer for this sort of thing.

1 comment:

wallhanger said...

As another "nerd" following the election I too was shocked by the 90 minute updates on ELECTION EVENING. I truly hardly ever have violent thoughts but the Clerk and Recorders office could have been a target were I prone for that.

As a supporter of Deb Johnson for Clerk and Recorder,I was at her victory party that evening and I can assure you my frustration was 2nd to hers. Election results is but one of many basic common sense improvements we can depend on from Debra Johnson.

Michael Scarpello, elections director for Denver is leaving. Substantial budget cuts loom, Debra Johnson is the only clear choice. We need the common sense and experience she brings to the table.