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Colorado’s Voter Registration System Went Down For 29 Minutes

Some of those who wanted to register to vote this afternoon may have been told to fill out a provisional ballot instead. Colorado’s top election officials confirmed that the system that registers people to vote went down for 29 minutes starting at 2:47 p.m. today.


It is unclear how many people across the state were told to fill out a provisional ballot, which is provided to people whose eligibility to vote is not immediately known. Those ballots are counted.


There no immediate word from officials on how widespread the problem was or whether it had an adverse effect on voters.

“We are investigating,” tweeted Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Update at 5:10 p.m.

Colorado Democrats are headed to a district courtroom in Denver to seek an emergency order that would allow voting centers across the state to remain open 25 extra minutes tonight. The legal action is in response to the system failure that may have forced some people to cast provisional ballot this afternoon -- or perhaps caused delays in places.

Polls around the state are set to close at 7 p.m. Williams' office said the polls could not be kept open after 7 p.m. His spokeswoman, Lynn Bartels, noted that anyone in line by 7 p.m. would be allowed to vote even after 7 p.m. under state law.

KUNC News was unable to immediately reach the Democratic Party.

Update at 5:35 p.m.

Democrats are now seeking a two-hour extension, Bartels tweeted.

Update at 6:07 p.m.

Colorado Secretary of State Office named as a defendant in Democrats' effort to keep polls in the state open until 9 p.m. Williams' office opposed to effort. "This outage didn't stop anyone from voting," Bartels tweeted. "We have had two weeks of voting and everyone got a ballot. We have no reports of long lines and anyone in line at 7 [p.m.] can still vote."

Democrats in their court complaint allege the voting system "may have been the target of external system intrusions." 

More: Read the full legal complaint here

Update 6:52 p.m. 

Colorado Democrats are denied the effort for an extension. Williams tweets: "Extension denied. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. can still vote."

As investigative reporter for KUNC, I take tips from our audience and, well, investigate them. I strive to go beyond the obvious, to reveal new facts, to go in-depth and to bring new perspectives and personalities to light.