As the Denver Post's Ryan Parker sort-of reports:
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers presented Gessler the State Technology Innovator Award on Tuesday, according to a news release from the secretary of state's office.
Gessler introduced the country's first web-optimized site allowing citizens to update or verify voter registration using a smartphone or tablet following the 2012 primary election…
"Your leadership in Colorado is a shining example," NASCIO President Brenda Decker said in the release. "NASCIO and its members recognize that such leadership is critical to advancing citizen service, information sharing and good government, and we applaud you for your commitment to these efforts."
Now first of all, far be it from us to question the decision making process of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in selecting Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler to receive this award, which is surely a nice thing to have drop in one's lap at the outset of a gubernatorial campaign. And we have to give Post reporter Ryan Parker the benefit of the doubt, since he's young and impressionable.
So he gets a pass, we suppose, for not having read this story from the very same Denver Post's Tim Hoover about that killer "web-optimized site" (what does that mean, by the way?) Gessler rolled out in 2012, for registering to vote by smartphone or tablet.
As it turned out, Gessler's "killer app" killed voter registrations.
A software glitch on the Colorado Secretary of State's mobile-optimized website prevented nearly 800 people using tablets and mobile phones from registering to vote.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler said the problem occurred between Sept. 14 and Monday because of a software update to the site. The update inadvertently caused a problem that prevented 779 people from registering, said Gessler, a Republican.
We took note of this software malfunction in September of 2012, which had the unhappy coincidence of primarily affecting union members who were in the middle of a registration campaign driving people to this mobile-optimized website. Gessler did place the blame on his office for this serious failure, but deflected criticism from "union bosses" upset about lost registrations. The fact remains, these 779 actual voter registrations lost to the ether amount to far more than any of Gessler's endless "investigations" into chimerical voter fraud have ever produced.
From a web development perspective, Gessler may have been "the first" to deploy a "mobile-optimized" website, but he surely isn't the only one by now. We can assure the technically illiterate that the trend toward what's known as responsive web design, intended to function well on all sizes of screens, is well established and much bigger than the Colorado Secretary of State's office. With that said, maybe Gessler indeed deserved this award, even with some early glitches. It's possible we'll be making a similar case for Colorado's new health insurance exchange website soon, so let's not be hypocritical.
But for the state's newspaper of record to "forget" all this history only a year after reporting it is rather dismaying.