Results are still coming in from Colorado this morning. Only 23 of the state's 64 counties have reported their results to the secretary of state.
UPDATE 8:15 AM MST: What we know right now is that not all of the results are in, but the bellwether counties Arapahoe and Jefferson counties have finished tallying their votes. Based on these, conventional wisdom tells us President Obama has won Colorado again, and all of the major networks have called it this way.
Despite an Obama win, none of the congressional seats from Colorado will be changing hands this January. All of the incumbents have won.
Finally, it looks like Colorado will be one of two states where marijuana can be smoked recreationally by adults 21 and over. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told CNN, "this will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly."
This could be setting a precedent across the country, and could lead to the unscheduling of the substance by the federal government. But there are a lot of questions yet to be answered on the whole process in Colorado, and the vote is only the first step. Will marijuana be controlled like alcohol, only allowed in certain places at certain times, how much will it be taxed, will Colorado fund a program to stop it from crossing state lines, who can grow it and how much can they grow? These questions and many more will have to be answered before the drug is truly legal.
UPDATE 9:23 PM MST: CNN has now called Colorado for Obama - he has won the nation, and now it looks like he has also won Colorado!
UPDATE 9:57 PM MST: House race update: It looks like Huff Post is calling district 3 for Tipton with 54.4 percentof the vote in his favor. District 6 looks like it's going to Coffman. Both of these Republican candidates, despite the state going for Obama overall.
UPDATE 9:40 PM MST: Calling Colorado for Obama! Based on the returns from the bellwether counties - Obama will once again win Colorado. It also looks like Amendment 64 will be passing this election. Obama is winning by such a margin it would be quite a surprise if the state went Romney.
UPDATE 9:25 MST: The Denver Post now predicts Obama will win Colorado, given that Obama is winning in the key counties.
UPDATE 9:17 MST: Marijuana amendment passing in Colorado, will mean a potential big change in the national position on this drug.
UPDATE 9:15 MST: Obama ahead in ALL of Colorado's bellwether counties. With 64 percent of precincts reporting in Arapahoe county, 54 percent of the vote goes to Obama. In Jefferson county, with 75 percent of precincts reporting, 50.7 percent of voters favor Obama to Romney's 47.1 percent, and in Larimer county with 74 percent of precincts reporting, 51.5 percent of votes go to Obama with 46.2 percent going to Romney.
If these results hold, it looks like Obama will win these counties, and likely, the entire state.
UPDATE 8:59 PM MST: Looks like neither of the significant races in the House can yet be called - but it appears that both Republican canididates are ahead at the moment in both races. In the up-for-grabs 3th and 6th districts republican incumbents are leading. In district 3: about 55 percent favor the Republican Tipton. In district 6: Coffman has 49.6 percent of the vote to Mikosi's 44.5 percent.
UPDATE 8:40 PM MST: From the Denver Post:
"In Jefferson County, Obama led GOP candidate Mitt Romney 50 to 47 percent with early and mail-in votes counted. More than 70 percent of voters in that county voted early or by mail.
And in Arapahoe County, with 75 percent of the votes counted, Obama led 52 to 46 percent.
Overall in Colorado, Obama was leading 51 to 48 percent with 1.3 million votes counted — about half. In 2008, more than 2.4 million voted in this state."
UPDATE 8:15 PM MST: Both Arapahoe and Jefferson counties are now reporting. In Arapahoe County Obama leads with 52.42 percent of the early vote, and in Jefferson county Obama also leads with 50.66 percent to Romney's 47.23 percent.
Obama is ahead right now, but that doesn't yet count today's vote - stay tuned for all the latest!
UPDATE 7:59 PM: Larimer county is still not repoting its results online, despite their report earlier that they would have them ready by 7:45 MST. Also, it looks like people are still waiting in line to vote in certain areas of Colorado, as of 7:47 PM. Will keep you up to date on the latest as we learn more about it!
UPDATE 7:34 PM MST: According to CNN, right now, Obama is ahead by 52 percent to Romney's 46 percent. Likely this is only with advance voters reporting, keep it tuned in here for the latest results.
UPDATE 7:15 PM MST: In Jefferson county Colorado, Obama is now ahead. 50.66 percent of early voters have cast ballots in favor of Obama, Romeny has recieved 47.23 percent of early voters. This means Obama might be ahead overall, but we shall see how the votes today have gone soon. Larimer and Arapahoe counties have yet to report any results.
UPDATE 6:35 PM MST: Lines might still be long in Arapahoe county as voters wait to cast their ballots. So, in the interest of entertaining said voters before we start reporting election results, here are your two pieces of eye candy - my favorite videos from this election season (other than Abigael Evans), intended for those still standing in line:
and of course, the Epic Rap Battle:
I promise, as soon as we know, you will have the latest news on winners and the latest updates (in the meantime, watch the videos again).
UPDATE 6:20 PM MST: Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog predicts and 79.6 percent chance of an Obama win in Colorado. With only 40 minutes more minutes to cast their ballots, we will soon see if this prediction holds true or if Romney can pull out a victory.
UPDATE 6:08 PM MST: Denver's election division spokesman Alton Dillard says that 3,488 mail in ballots have been rejected thanks to a discrepancy in their registered signature or no signature. Those whose ballots were rejected will have eight days to verify their signature, or the ballots will be passed to the district attorney for prosecution for potential election fraud. The all important Jefferson county has rejected nearly 2,000 of these and this could alter the outcome of the election, considering how close it is.
Though, Jefferson County has had high numbers of such ballots in past years and has usually dealt with them within the allotted time. But with this being a swing state, it could put the election results on hold if it comes down to a very close race.
UPDATE 5:52 PM MST: THIS JUST IN - Larimer county hopes to release election results tonight around 7:45 p.m. MST. This will be a very important return and may be an indicator where the all important Arapahoe and Jefferson counties (where "As goes Jefferson county, so goes Colorado"), so stay tuned here if you want to know what the results are first!
UPDATE 5:16 MST: Amendment 64 is being decided tonight in Colorado. The amendment proposes to legalize posession of a small amount of marijuana for those over 21 years of age. The proposition has already fostered a national debate on the issue, and has potentially massive implications for national drug policy.
The Denver Post reports one expert saying: "It's unprecedented," said Jonathan Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon University professor whose research focuses on marijuana legalization. Implications would be "huge and impossible to pinpoint," he said, and would put Colorado to the left of the Netherlands when it comes to marijuana policy.
At last check before the election, the proposition was polling with only 43 percent opposed and 5 percent undecided. Check out why supporters think "marijuana will save Colorado" in this graphic.
UPDATE 4:38 MST: AP reports that the latest counts are in for Colorado early voting are now in. Nearly 2 million of Colorado's estimated 2.7 million total votes were cast early this year - an astonishing number in and of itself.
Here's the breakdown as it stands right now: About 705,000 registered Republican votes are in, 670,500 registered Democrat votes and 569,000 unaffiliated voters. Republicans still have the edge in early voting, but this is about only concrete evidence we have that Romney might be ahead in Colorado. This will probably be reflected when we get the initial update total from the Secretary of State, which we can likely expect sometime around 8 p.m. MST, though this is a guesstimate for the earliest we might hear something.
Despite the number of estimed voters at 2.7 million, there are also 883,000 inactive voters who might actually cast votes in this tight race. Larimer county, one of the most populated and the third most important county in Colorado as far as elections go, has seen more than 76 percent turnout already - a stunning number in any election.
The polls close in 2 hours and 15 minutes in Colorado, depending on lines.
UPDATE 4:00 MST: Current exit polls in Colorado are not going to tell you who is the predicted winner until after the polls have closed (at least only from the major news networks, see my article here for why). What they are telling us right now though, according to the Associated Press, is some more general information about voters' feelings:
- 6 in 10 CO voters still say the economy is the most important issue as they vote. This, however, doesn't paint a clear picture of who they supported as both Obama and Romney would likely agree
- 4 in 10 CO voters think the economy is getting better, but the other 6 think the economy is worsening or stagnating
- About half of the voters think President Bush bears more responsibility for the economic crisis than Obama. This just adds to the deadlocked appearance of this swing state
- Only 25 percent of voters say they are better off now than four years ago. This might be the bad news for Obama, but on the other hand, the question doesn't reflect where voters think things are going in the future
UPDATE 2:10 PM MST: Voters in Colorado's Jefferson county, one of the key counties in determining which of the presidential candidates will be victorious, are feeling quite adamantly this election day. Not that we all aren't, but police have had to break up fist fights between brothers-in-law, stop spray painters defacing campaign signs, keep people from disturbing the flow of traffic while waving signs and placing signs in homeowners yards without permission.
Family violence and extreme campaigning remind me of a favorite South Park moment:
UPDATE 11:40 AM MST: Keeping an eye out for issues with polling places and vote counting, as Colorado ranked as one of the six least prepared states for election night problems. This is thanks to the lack of a paper trail on electronic only voting machine, allowing overseas to submit ballots electronically and doesn't having a strong contingency plan should electronic voting fail for any reason. So far, not hearing any reports of these problems playing out, but will keep watching.
The bright side is that the weather is nice, at least in Denver and surrounding areas, and they aren't dealing with the aftermath of a superstorm. It does beg the question though of how Colorado would deal with, say, a blizzard on an election day in the future.
UPDATE 9:20 AM MST: Talk about the sanctity of elections, looks like there are some ultra alert poll workers on duty in Colorado. The Denver Post reports that a poll workers flagged a young woman for what they assumed was an attempt to violate the state's electioneering law - here's what she was flagged for:
UPDATE 9:00 AM MST: Looks like the house races to be watching will be taking place in districts 3 and 6. Right now, in the large 3rd district, it appears that Tipton has taken the edge. But in the 6th district, the race is still a toss up between Coffman and Mikosi. Some pundits have suggested that this race might be tilted toward Coffman, but it's really too close to call at this point. If this district does go to Coffman, it could be an indicator that Romney will pull ahead in this all important area. For now though, we'll keep an eye on the race.
UPDATE 7:45 AM MST: If you're feeling burnt out as a swing state voter, Colorado's very own Abigael Evans is here to sum up your feelings, and her mom is here to reassure that it will all be over soon:
UPDATE 7:35 AM MST: Arapahoe and Jefferson counties might be the key to winning this election in colorado. As the some of the most populated, these counties are the "purple" areas considered bellwethers as their results in previous elections are errily on target with the overall state vote. The Denver area counties could be the key to winning the election for both Obama and Romney, and it's reported that the candidates campaigns are working overtime in these critical areas.
UPDATE 7:25 AM MST: It looks like Colorado is shaping up to be one of the closest swing states in this election. As of last night, it looks like the GOP's edge in early votes cast stands at exactly two percent, down from a previous 2.3 percent at the end of early voting on Friday, and 2.6 percent the day before.
UPDATE 7:05 AM MST: While east coast polling stations have been open for 2 hours, Colorado's opened just over 5 minutes ago. Polls will be open until 7 PM this evening, so make sure to get out there and vote!
Already, 1.7 million out of Colorado's 2.7 million predicted voters have cast their ballots. Registered Republicans have cast about 35,000 more ballots than registered Democrats, potentially giving Gov. Romney a slight edge going into tomorrow's general election.
The real question will be for whom the reported 474,000 unaffiliated early voters cast their ballots. We won't know the outcome of their votes until shortly after 7 p.m. MDT tomorrow. With early voting concluded, the candidates must now focus on getting voters to actually cast ballots tomorrow.
The polls of urban Denver and Boulder show the president ahead by a significant 29 percent, and show him with a solid lead of around 8 percent in the suburban areas surrounding these cities. Outside of these areas, Romney holds an equally solid lead of nearly 10 percent. At this time in 2008, Obama was polling 5.5 points ahead of John McCain, this election cycle, his lead is statistically tied overall at 48.2 percent to Romney's 47.6 percent.
Talking to a CNN reporter about the state of the close election, even Secretary of State Scott Gessler said "I have no idea where things stand." With 16 options for president in Colorado to complicate presidential politics even further, it's no surprise this state is still swinging.
Fun fact about early voting in Colorado: just like ordering a Big Mac, Colorado allows for drive-through polling during business hours, at least in Denver. Just drive through the voting tent, hand in your ballot and speed off feeling good about having done your civic duty! Since you cannot be impeded by police except for a felony, treason or breach of peace when on your way to vote or way back from voting in Colorado, if you feel the need to speed, this would be the ideal time. Though, despite your Maserati being able to do 185, remember that it would still be a felony, and you will lose your license ("now [you] don't drive").
For those of the herbal persuasion, Colorado's ballot initiative, "Amendment 64," will once again ask voters to legalize posession of small amounts of marijuana by individuals for recreational use. A similar amendment in 2006 was defeated with around 58 percent of the elctorate voting against. Little more than a week ago, Public Policy Polling reported the measure winning with only 43 percent opposed and 5 percent undecided.
I'll also be keeping an eye on some of the key House races in the state, so stay tuned for live results and coverage all day!
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 Colorado elections live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page throughout the day.