BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
In the days following the Nov. 5 election, questions were raised about some of the actions of Joan Lopez, who was elected county clerk last year in a Democratic wave in Arapahoe County.
Arapahoe County Republicans, through their chair Dorothy Gottlieb, have called on Lopez to “resign immediately” in order to “restore the faith of Arapahoe County voters in the integrity, credibility, and fairness of the election process,” as a result of issues they have with how this election was run.
.A flyer that was distributed prior to the election by the clerk’s office encouraging residents to register and vote was titled, “VOTE. Your vote is your voice.” It contained the statement, “Registered? Great! Vote early and vote often. Check the reverse side for important dates regarding upcoming elections.” The phrase, “vote early and vote often,” is a tongue-in-cheek political motto of Chicago (where I grew up). It sarcastically refers to the reputation of illegal activity in that city decades ago that supposedly allowed people to vote more than once. No one knows for sure if it ever really happened.
In response to our question about what the clerk’s office actually intended in using that turn of phrase, Winna MacLaren, the public information officer, told us that it was she who created the flyer and that she “was unaware the phrase had negative associations. The intention was to encourage voters to vote in all of the upcoming elections listed on the flyer and to do so prior to each Election Day, if possible.” Lopez has previously apologized for the error, noting that her staff was young.
On the issue of delays in counting votes, for which the clerk’s office was also criticized, MacLaren told us that of the total 163.594 ballots received in Arapahoe County, 33,738 or 21 percent were received on November 4, the day before the election, and 61,150 or 37 percent were received on election day, November 5. The ballots received on those two days constituted 58 percent of the total, which explains why preliminary vote totals available on the night of the election were subsequently revised.
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