Oh, the coveted Colorado.
Without a senate seat up for play, and no extremely contested congressional seats, the focus on Colorado is solely on its nine electoral votes and its overwhelming importance as a key selector of the next President of the United States. After the pieces fall in Ohio and Florida, with current narrow polling suggesting a blue Ohio and red Florida (POLITICO/Real Clear Politics), the country will look to west to push either candidate past lucky number 270.
In 2008, Colorado sided heavily with Candidate Obama, giving a comfortable 8.6% margin victory over Senator John McCain. As both candidates have painstakingly noted, things have changed and the country is ever more divided now in 2012. While a “more expendable” state for President Obama, any loss in the Midwestern trifecta of Iowa, Wisconsin, or Ohio would make this a “must-win” for the President. On the other side of the aisle, early voting returns in Colorado suggest favorable conditions for Romney, as Republicans continue to lead in Colorado in early voting. According to the Denver Post, 1.7 million of Colorado’s 2.7 million voters have cast ballots via early voting. Assuming a loss in Ohio and victories in Florida and North Carolina (as the past few weeks of polling has suggested) Governor Romney will surely need to take at least 5 of the 7 remaining swing states, Colorado a must have mathematically.
On the House side of things, according to The New York’s Time House Race Ratings, only two of Colorado’s seven districts – the Colorado 3rd and Colorado 6th – are up for play, both of which lean Republican as of latest polling.
Last but not least, on top of a crucial presidential race, voters in Colorado, along with Washington and Oregon, will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Like it’s fellow fresh-air breathing, tree-loving sister states from the Northwest, Colorado is no stranger to the argument for marijuana legalization. A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana was overwhelmingly beaten back in 2006 by a 59% to 41% vote, six years after a referendum approved marijuana for medicinal use.
As of November 5, Real Clear Politics gives Obama a 48.2% -47.6% narrow lead in polling. Colorado has 7 congressional districts, 9 electoral votes, and one huge decision for the future of this country.
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Update 6:21 PM
Because it's way too hard to remember time zones and when polling closes
Update Nov 6th - 6:20 PM
Keep it up Colorado! 1 hr 40 more minutes of this voting business.
Update Nov 6th - 5:52 PM
As if this night wasn't fun/stressful enough, looks like it might not end for another 10 days (if things get too close in Colorado). Apparently, thousands of mail ballots have been rejected in Colorado for signature issues and other reasons.
Also, Vigo County, Indiana has aligned itself with the President-Elect in the past 54 years of elections. Tonight it turned blue. Let's see if Vigo pulls through for Obama, and for Romney, that it's a bunch of hocus pocus voodoo juju.
Update Nov 6th - 5:30 PM
I am back from the dead! If it wasn't for smart phones...
So yeah, Colorado. Updated figures from the secretary of state show that about 1.97 million of Colorado's 2.7 million active voters have cast their vote via early voting.
The party breakdown of those who have already voted is: Republicans, 705,085; Democrats, 670,355; and unaffiliated voters, 569,182.
Polls close 9 pm EST/ 8 pm CST/ 7 pm MST/ 6 PST. SO CONFUSING.
Update Nov 6th – 2:05 PM
For those who were wondering (and probably no one was wondering) here's my prediction for the night. Romney will also win the popular vote. GOP will be up in arms over the stupidity of the electoral college and Democrats will be unable to counter an effective argument against said stupidity after Gore-Bush circa 2000...
Also, check out 270towin.com. Awesome website.
Update Nov 6th - 1:35 PM
Ahh the passion of the people comes out in full force. Don't think this election tugs at the core of some people's existence? Look no further than in Jefferson County (See post below about Jefferson)
This shiz is getting real.
Update Nov 6th – 10:30 AM:
One last update before I disconnect with the outside world (Hello Classroom!).
Every swing state has its "key" counties. It's pretty worrying/astounding to think that even within the scope of a swing state like Colorado, there are even fewer (less than a handful!) of swing counties that will decide the choice of the entire state.
Among the most powerful counties tonight are Jefferson, Arapahoe and Larimer county. Between Arapahoe and Jefferson, a quarter of the state's active voters reside in these these two districts, and get this: they are registered one-third Democratic, one-third Republican and one-third unaffiliated. Talk about fight for the independent voice.
Furthermore, keep a closer eye on Jefferson county. Jefferson's voters have sided with the state in every Presidential election in the past century, sans Bush 41in 1992.
"So goes Jefferson County, so goes Colorado"
On the Congressional side of things, expect Colorado to return most, if not all, of its incumbents to Washington. Analysts have said that the only races up for contention are between incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton versus Democratic challenger Sal Pace for the 3rd Congressional seat and incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman versus Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi for the 6th District.
Enjoy the morning. 70 degrees and partly cloudy up in Denver later today. Mmmm.....
Update Nov 6th – 9:45 AM:
Polls close in Colorado at 9 pm EST. Expect the tally to come definitely before midnight, most likely around 11 PM EST. Ohio ballots begin sorting at 7:30 PM EST (When Ohio polls close). Look for Colorado to be the state that pushes either candidate over 269.
In the spirit of democracy I am also wearing a super cool America Hat and singing "America the Beautiful". Today is one of those days, like the Super Bowl, where you either are infatuated with what's going on or you hate it all with a fiery passion. If you don't vote, you make champions of democracy very sad. Very very sad. Something like this:
UPDATE– Nov 5th, 7 pm (All times CST):
As evidenced by Romney’s last ground game go-round, the Romney campaign believes its path to presidency requires wins in Ohio and Virginia and then either Iowa or Colorado. Over the final few days, Romney and Ryan made six stops in Colorado. Only Iowa, Virginia and Ohio had five or more visits (Ohio had seven). No other states besides these four had more than two stops. Colorado is looking like an even more essential state for Romney.
UPDATE - Nov 5th 7:15 pm:
The Obama campaign remains hopeful and trying to eat up good news. An independent poll from The Colorado Independent's John Tomasaic shows good news for Democrats.
Democrats see a solid advantage in the number of "inactive"and unaffiliated voters in Colorado who are likely to turn out on Election Day. 474,436 (29.7% of the Colorado electorate) are registered as unaffiliated voters.
Republicans hold a 6,000 registered voter edge in Colorado, but there are 32,000 more democratic voters listed as "inactive" than there are Republican inactive voters. Democrats are hoping that the lower turnout from the Tea Party-wave election of 2010 won't repeat itself here, and that independent and inactive voters come out to vote on Tuesday.
Update Nov 5th – 7:20 PM
Early voting tallies are in and reported by percentage.
"According to tallies released by the secretary of state Monday morning, 624,778 registered Republicans have returned ballots (36.5 percent) compared to 590,417 registered Democrats (34.5 percent) and 474,437 registered unaffiliated voters (27.9 percent)." - Huffington Post
Update Nov 5th - 9:45 PM
Money. Money. Money. More than $6 billion has been spent by both sides and their Super PACS and Spooky PACS (credit to Mr. Stephen Colbert). Let it not be lost on you that between Obama and Romney's official campaigns, $46 million dollars has been spent on the Colorado ad waves. Obama for America has spent $29 million while Romney for President $17 million. However, Romney has the bulk of his support (and by support I mean big, unnamed donors in leather chairs stroking white cats) in Colorado by means of conservative groups such as Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and others such as American Crossroads, Restore our Future, and Americans for Prosperity. I guess you have to spend money to tell other people how they are going to make money once your elected. If you take off the zeroes from these figures then I guess it looks reasonable... Until Citizens United is re-examined, this will surely be a normal part of our American political process.
Update Nov 5th – 9:55 PM
Some Eye Candy! Check out what lovely Coloradans are being bombarded with inbetween Monday Night Football and late-night comedy.
See our full election live coverage here