Post office, voting firm at odds over mail-in ballot problems |

Post office, voting firm at odds over mail-in ballot problems

DENVER – The company contracted by the Denver Election Commission is coming under fire again after thousands of ballots for an upcoming election were incorrectly mailed.A U.S. Postal Service official, in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Coffman, blasted Sequoia Voting Systems, saying envelopes the company used for the Jan. 30 election could not be automatically sorted. Post office officials called the Oakland, Calif.-based company a “low-cost, low-quality, out-of-state election mail vendor.”About 3,500 mail-in ballots, including Mayor John Hickenlooper’s, were sent to the wrong places, and about 1,200 voters who live outside of Denver did not get their ballots.”Our locally documented cases over the last two years show that every mailing prepared by Sequoia had mail design, sortation, or preparation issues, regardless of the amount of prework and information the Postal Service provided them,” U.S. post office district manager Dean Granholm wrote in the letter.Sequoia officials disputed Granholm’s claims in a five-page response.”At absolutely no instance during the process to produce and mail ballots for the January 30, 2007, election did anyone from your office have any communications with us that would indicate that you have any concerns whatsoever with our processes,” company spokeswoman Michelle Shafer wrote.Shafer said the city’s rush to hold the election this month meant that only hand-sorted envelopes could be used. She said Sequoia has records showing the post office had approved the decision.The City Council voted the day after Christmas to hold the election, which will decide whether to overhaul the Election Commission. The decision stems from problems in the November election, where mistakes by Sequoia led to improper postage and transposed answers on absentee ballots.The company was also blamed for an overwhelmed computer system that led to long lines at polling places during the midterm election.

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