Colorado's longest wait to vote? Reports of three-hour delays at Aurora's CentrePoint Plaza

Categories: Politics

Representative Rhonda Fields, a Democrat in Aurora, showed up this afternoon and said she was very worried about the calls she had received at her office -- one even saying the wait was close to four hours.

"It's very unsettling...especially knowing Arapahoe County is so important in this election," she said.

In Colorado, the race will be decided by a small margin of voters and Arapahoe is very evenly split. The latest turnout data shows that of those who have cast ballots so far in the county, 84,568 are Democrats, 84,486 Republicans and 67,394 are unaffiliated.

Vote center aurora.jpg
Sam Levin
Voters in line.
"I think we need better planning," Fields said. "People who are working today, middle class [residents]...only have a certain amount of time they can take off.... People are going to have to get out of line, because they have things to do."

She doesn't want to see anybody not voting because they just don't have the time.

"I'm very worried, because the authority we have as citizens is the power to vote, and I appreciate the people standing here to exercise that power. It should be easy and it doesn't seem that way here," she said.

Vanessa Johnson, 27, who came with her sister and father, said she visited three separate sites in Aurora where the lines seemed too long and finally settled on CentrePoint Plaza, since it looked like she could at least wait inside. She said her wait was more than two hours.

"Some people were leaving here to find other places where they don't have to wait," she said. "But there ain't no excuses. You've gotta vote."

Johnson, who works in insurance, added, "You think it'd be a little bit easier to vote, but as long as my vote counts, I'm happy."

Her father, Michael Shoates, 57, who took the day off from his job at the post office, said that he worries about people giving up.

"People just don't have the patience and some may not vote," he said. "But I would vote if it was 36 degrees below zero."

His other daughter, Amanda Shoates, 23, said she understands she could've voted early, but she just feels more confident when she casts her ballot on election day.

"People aren't patient, but no one believes in mail-in-ballots," she said.

Her father chimed in, "I don't want mind ending up in the trash."

Voters in Aurora 3.JPG
Sam Levin
The Shoates family, after voting.
Senator Bennet said the situation in at the Aurora center was a concern, but voters will stick it out.

"I just think it's so important for Colorado not to be a source of controversy here. We need to make sure that everybody that is taking the time to come out to vote gets a chance to vote. Of course, you like to see the lines moving along," he said, adding, "Nobody should give up. Everybody needs to vote."

More from our Politics archive: "Federico Pena, Obama surrogate, defends Abound Solar, federal loans"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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4 comments
acgauch
acgauch

It took me nearly 2 hours to vote first thing this morning in Arapahoe County.  About an hour waiting in the regular line, and about another hour in the provisional ballot line.  Even though I had explicitly told the person at the DMV I did not want a mail-in ballot when I registered, I was sent one anyway (I thought they must be sending them to everyone, since I said I didn't want one).  I only learned that having been sent a mail-in ballot precluded me from casting a normal ballot when I got to the registration checkpoint.  I was then sent to the provisional ballot line which only had one person processing us. At least three other people around me in the provisional ballot line also had mail-in ballots sent when they explicitly said they did not want one.

Ben Chamberlain
Ben Chamberlain

and its in colorados black neighborhood (also mine). why am i not surprised?

Mark Slaugh
Mark Slaugh

That's called systemic voter suppression. My guess is you'll see it most in minority and poor neighborhoods. Sickening.

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