DENIED: Court rejects Democrats’ request to extend Colorado polling hours until 9 p.m.

A ballot tent on Bannock Street. June 16, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)voting; vote; ballot; poll; election; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;

Democrats had asked to keep polls open an extra two hours because of the outage this afternoon when county-level elections workers couldn’t access the state’s voter registration database.

That meant they couldn’t check the registration of in-person voters or print their ballots. People could still vote provisionally, but some voters left and others waited, meaning lines that had been moving started to back up.

In a filing in Denver District Court, Colorado Democrats argued that people who had to leave as a result of the outage need more time to come back to vote. They want the polls to remain open for another two hours, until 9 p.m.

“The failures of the Secretary of State’s pollbook system have interfered with, diminished otherwise prevented a full twelve-hour period of voting,” the party argued in its request for an injunction. Those failures have also “unreasonably burdened or deprived the constitutional rights of eligible voters to cast a valid, regular ballot during today’s election.”

The Secretary of State’s Office argued in turn that the outage didn’t stop anyone from voting. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will still be able to vote, no matter how long it takes.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels’ assertion that there are not long lines prompted others to tweet pictures of two-hour long lines at certain polling places in Denver.

However, she is correct that you don’t need to extend the polling hours to accommodate those people as they all will get to vote. The issue for the Democratic Party is people who perhaps left and don’t have another opportunity to return until after 7 p.m.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.