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Despite kinks, Boulder Direct Democracy Online set to go live Monday

By Deborah Swearingen. Originally published in the Daily Camera on February 4, 2021.

Boulder Direct Democracy Online goes live on Monday, though some challenges persist, particularly for those with unlisted phone numbers on their voter registration.

Otherwise, the city has corrected most of the problems that occurred when it launched on the preview of its new online petitioning system on Jan. 22. This includes a common problem in which people did not receive a confirmation code via phone call or text message and therefore could not go through the two-factor authentication process and another where people received an error message despite doing everything properly.

City Attorney Tom Carr told Boulder City Council on Tuesday that the city did not realize unlisted numbers were an issue until the preview of the city’s new system was released for public testing. Carr said he’s still not certain how people designate their number as unlisted since there is no option for doing so on the state voter registration form.

'This is problematic, and I’m very sorry for it. But it’s something that we didn’t anticipate and didn’t have any idea existed before we went to the preview system, which is one of the reasons why it’s been incredibly helpful to do this (preview),' he said.

If a person has an unlisted number, the county and city have created a more direct system for addressing the problem. Previously, it required making the change in person at the county clerk’s office. Now, there is a form that people can print out, fill out, scan and email in.

Ultimately, Carr hopes there will be an electronic fix.

'Our goal in all of this is to reduce the barriers not create additional ones.'"

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