Election day in Colorado: How did it stack up on voter-review site My Fair Election?

Categories: News, Politics, Tech

One interesting trend Suhaka noted across the country: The length of wait times did not necessarily correlate with star ratings. This is because people's reviews often had to do with their perceptions of the efficiency at the polling site: If the line moved fast and the polling site appeared to be functioning smoothly, then voters gave it a good rating -- even if the experience took a long time.

Aurora vote center line 1.jpeg
Sam Levin
Long line at an Aurora vote center on election day.
"If it seemed like a mess -- chaos, disorganized -- people's level of frustration was very high," she says. "But if the long lines were moving as fast as they [could]...people were excited about the turnout."

She adds, "They said, 'It's great to see all my neighbors...[voting] in such an important election.'"

Across the country, about four out of five people said they had an okay experience, which she said was a positive sign. She expects that the data generally skews negative, since users logging reviews are more likely to be the ones stuck on long lines who want to vent.

But some of the bad experiences were really bad and pretty alarming, she says.

Notably, there were around twenty reviewers across the country who wrote that they didn't end up voting, either because lines were too long or they had issues with IDs. Across the country, My Fair Election also collected reports of difficulties with parking at polling sites.

"I was just surprised to see how many people showed up to vote and didn't end up voting," she says.

In Colorado, her site collected a total of 26 reviews -- not enough to make any meaningful conclusions. But the ratings were generally positive, which she thinks probably has to do with the existence early voting. The longest waits were 45 minutes, sixty minutes and 100 minutes, but the vast majority were twenty minutes and under.

There were also several complaints related to IDs in Colorado, with one voter complaining that a poll worker didn't know the rules and tried to turn people away who had correct forms of identification, while another user noted that one site was allowing people to vote without checking IDs at all. These were the concerns that drew competing poll-watching and election-monitoring groups to sites throughout the state last week.

As Scott Gessler, the state's chief election officer, noted to us on election day, Colorado's election generally went smoothly, except for one site in Aurora that had fairly long waits. This is especially true relative to some other states across the country that had long lines throughout and much more high-profile controversies related to voter access.

While she didn't collect as much data as she'd like, Suhaka hopes to continue to build the site and make it a more powerful tool for upcoming elections -- one that could really be used to pressure polling sites and officials to run better elections.

"If people report this...and I'm publishing it...everyone's gonna see it," she says. "Maybe that'll provide motivation they need to do a better job. I'm just trying to hold people accountable."

Ultimately, she'd like My Fair Election to function as a real-time tool that could yield improvements while the elections are in progress.

"I would love for some of these reports to get into people's hands as the problems are happening," she says.

More from our Politics archive: "Obama haters signing Colorado-must-secede petition should be deported, says new petition"

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

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