News

Denver Elections Division wins prestigious international award

Author: Ernest Luning - January 26, 2017 - Updated: January 26, 2017

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Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson talks about mail voting on Sept. 22, 2015, in Denver's Civic Center Park. The Denver Elections Division was honored by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies for innovations involving using electronic tablets to sign petitions and register to vote in December 2016. (Photo by Ernest Luning)
Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson talks about mail voting on Sept. 22, 2015, in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The Denver Elections Division was honored by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies for innovations involving using electronic tablets to sign petitions and register to vote in December 2016. (Photo by Ernest Luning)

Joining the ranks of Jimmy Carter, Madeleine Albright and Nelson Mandela, the Denver Elections Division has been honored by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies for developing an application that allows voters to register and on electronic tablets instead of paper.

Denver’s award was for its eSign app and its Voter Registration Drive module and the category was Outstanding Achievement in International Institutional Engagement and Electoral Ergonomy.

“Only two entities from the United States were recognized by the ICPS, and Denver was the only municipality to receive an award,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson in a statement. “All of the other elections offices represented entire countries. That makes this award particularly special to us.”

The award ceremony took place in December in Maputo, Mozambique.

Developed by the Denver Elections Division, the eSign app — the first of its kind in the United States — allows voters to sign petitions on tablets, and the Voter Registration Drive component lets groups registering voters also use a tablet. The innovation markedly increases the number of valid forms submitted, election officials said, by cutting errors and making it less likely incomplete forms will be submitted. By using a tablet, the operation also makes the process more accessible for voters who need some help filling out the forms.

Denver Director of Elections Amber McReynolds noted that the international organization has honored some illustrious names over the years.

“Some of the past award winners from the ICPS include former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former South African President Nelson Mandela,” she said. “To be recognized for our efforts is both humbling and indicative of our commitment to create innovative solutions that better serve our customers.”

The eSign app also lets circulators confirm signers’ eligibility on the spot, reducing the number of invalid signatures, officials pointed out. In addition, the operation has built-in security options, such as allowing signers to immediately safeguard their personal information, including signatures, rather than have the information remain on sheets of paper that could fall into the wrong hands.

ernest@coloradostatesman.com

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.