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Colorado elections chief quits

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The top elections official in the Colorado secretary of state’s office has resigned less than two months before the critical Nov. 4 election.

Director of Elections Holly Lowder resigned Thursday.

She had no listed phone number, and the secretary of state did not immediately return message left by The Associated Press on Friday.

The Rocky Mountain News reported that secretary of state spokesman Richard Coolidge declined to say why Lowder left.

Colorado’s election will be closely watched, because the state’s nine electoral votes could be enough to swing a close presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain.

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The ballot will be a long one, with 18 initiatives, a U.S. Senate seat and all seven Colorado congressional seats. Also, the state began using a new voter registration system this year, two years behind schedule.

Coolidge told the News that Deputy Elections Director Wayne Munster will take over up Lowder’s duties through the November election.

County election officials across the state learned about Lowder’s departure in an e-mail from the secretary of state’s office on Thursday, Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith said Friday.

The e-mail said Lowder had retired and wanted to “pursue other opportunities,” Arrowsmith said.

Arrowsmith said he is confident Munster can keep things running smoothly, saying he is very knowledgeable.

“Frankly, I think we’re going to be OK,” Arrowsmith said.

The new voter registration, called the State of Colorado Registration and Election System, or SCORE, replaces multiple county systems and is required by federal voting reforms passed after the 2000 election problems in Florida.

Arrowsmith said the basic functions ” registering voters and checking them in when they show up to vote ” have been working well.

He said work remains to be done on getting the system to generate reports about voters and precincts that political parties and candidates use to help them campaign.


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