Wednesday, October 27, 2004

More voting problems - Colorado watch

Colorado, with 9 electoral college votes, is another closely-fought swing-state, which makes these reports of voting problems rather worrying:

"People in several of the most populous counties in Colorado (Arapahoe, Denver, El Paso and Jefferson) will be voting on touch-screen, computer-based voting machines next week. These machines do not provide a paper trail. Most other counties will be counting the votes on computer-based counting machines."

"many absentee ballots are being returned to senders for lack of postage. They require two stamps, not one. This is not a problem for those getting their ballots in early. But anyone waiting until the last minute may be in for a surprise if their ballot is returned to them for more postage, unopened, after the election."


Then there's also the fear that some voters have been registered twice.

It is also worth noting that the Denver Post, where these stories have come from and which is one of the state's biggest-selling papers, has recently come out for Bush. This is despite being renowned as a left-leaning rag from a largely Democratic city, and despite the fact that the Post backed Gore in 2000. Even the endorsement acknowledges that Colorado is worse off now than it was before Bush came to office.

So why the volte-face? Could it be anything to do with the fact that the paper is owned by William Dean Singleton, a friend and advisor of George W Bush and contributor to the Bush/Cheney campaign? Has he forced the editorial team's hand to help try and swing a state in which there is only 2 points between the candidates?

The readers have responded with anger:

"I live in Denver because I find it to be a progressive, forward-thinking city. It represents my values. I read The Denver Post because it used to represent my city. By endorsing Bush, The Denver Post divorced itself from me, my city and my values."

So much for Singleton's claims that the strength of the paper is that "We don't just reflect the community. We don't just report on the community. We are a part of it." Sounds about as believable as Rupert Murdoch's claims that Fox isn't biased for Bush...

Oh, and just to add to the joys of American press freedom and the US's encouragement of free speech and democracy around the globe, the official website of President Bush's campaign is now blocked to anyone trying to access it from outside the United States. (Site stat evidence here.)

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