Election Day Open Thread #2

UPDATE #5: Judge rejects motion from Democrats to extend voting times in Denver:

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UPDATE #4: Democrats get excited about reports that the state of Georgia is closer than expected, though Donald Trump is narrowly ahead:

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UPDATE #3: After an outage of the state’s voter registration system during the day, Democrats go to court to extend voting:

 

Voting hours have also been extended in a key North Carolina county (Durham) due to computer errors.

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UPDATE #2: Polls close at 5:00 (Mountain) in Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and the rest of Indiana/Kentucky.

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UPDATE: The Colorado Secretary of State’s office released new ballot return numbers this afternoon.

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Polls in parts of Indiana and Kentucky close at 6:00 Eastern time. Here we go…

 

Broomfield Voters Are Very Wise

Broomfield is #1…on this list. As “The Fix” reports, Broomfield voters are pretty good at predicting statewide election results if you compare election results from each county:

We looked at this at three levels: Closest to state results since 1960, closest since 1992 and closest in 2012. The 10 counties that have been closest to the state results on average since 1960:

1. Broomfield County, Colo.: 1.1 points average deviation from state
2. Burlington County, N.J.: 1.92 points
3. Beltrami County, Minn.: 2.03 points
4. Stutsman County, N.D.: 2.11 points
5. Poweshiek County, Iowa: 2.48 points

This is certainly interesting to note, though it is a bit misleading; the City and County of Broomfield wasn’t consolidated into one entity until 2001. But for what it’s worth, here’s how early voting looked in Broomfield as of this morning:

Democrats:    10,269
Republicans:  9,492
Unaffiliated:  10,614

So, there’s that.

Guess Who Hasn’t Voted Yet?

TUESDAY UPDATE: As of this morning, still no returned ballots for the Coffmans or Sen. Gardner.

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Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) once promised to spill the beans on his choice for President “when ballots go out.” Denver Post reporter Jon Murray followed up with Coffman’s campaign recently to see if and when the Congressman would make his choice at the top of the ticket, and we’re still waiting:

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BREAKING: State Senate Control Hinges on This District…

Democrat Jenise May

Jenise May

Republican Rep. Kevin Priola

Kevin Priola

Control of the State Senate in 2016 appears as though it will be decided in SD-25 (Adams County), where Republican Rep. Kevin Priola is battling Democrat Jenise May for an open seat being vacated by the term-limited state Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton).

Republicans have directed most of their financial resources in the last week toward SD-25 in hopes of propping up Priola’s sputtering campaign. Nevertheless, voter turnout numbers through Monday show Democrats with a nearly-2,000 vote lead in SD-25.

From everything we hear, Democrats appear to be in pretty good shape in the other two top-targeted State Senate races in SD-19 (Arvada/Westminster) and SD-26 (Cherry Hills). So long as Democratic voters turn out in decent numbers today, Democrats will net a one-seat advantage here (pickup in SD-19 and hold in SD-26), which would erase the one-seat lead for Republicans in the current State Senate makeup.

If May is able to hold of Priola in SD-25 today, Democrats should regain control of both chambers of the state legislature.

No pressure, or anything.

 

Ballot Returns Entering Election Day

UPDATE: Check out the ballot return figures in some of the most-watched races in Colorado today. Figures are accurate as of this morning:

Ballot return numbers through Monday, 11/7/16

Ballot return numbers through Monday, 11/7/16

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Here are the latest ballot return figures as of this morning:

 

Just Vote, Baby!

votebuttonRemember, friends don’t let friends try to mail their ballots today. All ballots must be RECEIVED by your county clerk by 7:00 pm tonight; postmarked ballots that do not arrive before this time will not be counted.

Check JustVoteColorado.org for more information on where to take your ballot or to find your nearest polling location. If you haven’t submitted your ballot or just can’t find it, you can still vote in person.

Colorado Republicans Fractured and Flummoxed

Colorado Republicans are having a hard-enough time convincing supporters to vote ONCE.

Colorado Republicans are having a hard-enough time convincing supporters to vote ONCE.

As Dave Weigel reports for the Washington Post today, there is a stark difference in Colorado when it comes to GOTV efforts that does not bode well for Republicans. As Weigel writes, Republicans “are counting on voters to come home; the Democrats are simply counting voters.”:

…The gap between strategies is visible everywhere, even at the early-vote rallies the parties have held to close the campaign. On Friday afternoon, former president Bill Clinton made three stops across the state, joined by Democratic leaders. The subject, each time, was how to turn in votes. Every attendee was given a sheet with possible volunteer times, and staff members flitted around to pick them up….

The same day, the campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump sent two of its surrogates, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), to a faith group’s get-out-the-vote event in an Aurora senior living center. There was no one at the door urging people to volunteer. Two boxes of Trump campaign rally signs in the back of the room went largely untouched. In their speeches, Carson, Fallin and state party chairman Steve House focused less on the mechanics of the election than the need to defeat Clinton…

…Despite big victories in 2014, Colorado’s Republican Party has been riven by infighting, the cruelest of it pitting House against state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Her husband, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (Colo.), represents a district that covers Aurora. He is one of a handful of Republicans running explicitly anti-Trump ads.

Well, would you look at that: Another Coffmangate reference!

Setting aside the infighting narrative for a moment, Republican problems with field operations in Colorado (and across the country) have been a consistent theme in 2016. The GOP has had serious problems with its turnout operation in Colorado for several cycles now, and as Weigel’s story shows, not much has been done to address the issue. This was the first election cycle we can recall in which Republicans did not outpace Democrats in early voting returns, which is a problem even without a Republican Presidential nominee who is about as interested in field operations as he is in fact-checking.

You can certainly blame an enthusiasm gap for some of the GOP’s voter turnout problems, but polls have shown that Democrats aren’t all that thrilled about Hillary Clinton, either. For whatever reason, Colorado Republicans just aren’t adapting to the changing electorate in Colorado.

Mike Coffman Must Have Forgotten About the Presidential Race

You didn't think I was really going to answer that question, did you?

You didn’t think I was really going to answer that question, did you?

Once upon a time…

…Or on September 15, 2016, if we’re being specific, Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) promised to tell his constituents which candidate he would be choosing in the race for President. Here’s precisely what Coffman campaign spokesperson Cinamon Watson told the Denver Post for a story appearing on Sept. 15:

“He plans on watching the debates and making a decision when ballots go out.”

Well, ballots goed out on October 17th, and Coffman has yet to articulate on his preferred selection in the race for President. On October 18th, Coffman did tell 9News that he wasn’t sure if he would even vote in the Presidential race at all, but that’s all we know to this point. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has not forgotten about Coffman’s promise, and neither has the Huffington Post:

With just days until election day, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) still won’t say whether he’ll vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump

…Several Republicans in tight reelection races have taken a similar position to Toomey and declined to reveal if they intend to vote for Trump. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) won’t say who he is voting for, and Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), who is running for Senate, has said voters don’t have a right to know who he is voting for.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said he would let voters know if he was voting for Trump by the time voting ballots went out in his state. But Coffman still has yet to say if he would vote for Trump ―  and ballots went out on Oct. 17.

Coffman’s continued silence on the Presidential race is particularly absurd given that attorneys representing his campaign regularly demand that media outlets “cease and desist” from running advertisements suggesting that Coffman is a Trump supporter. Coffman could kill two birds with one stone here — fulfilling his promise to say who he will support for President and making it clear that he is voting for someone else — but like many other Colorado Republicans, he is petrified of further alienating diehard Trump backers whose support he still needs if he hopes to win re-election.

In case Coffman has just forgotten about the Presidential race, we’d like to remind him that there are 24 other Presidential candidates on the ballot in Colorado whose last names do not rhyme with “Trump” or “Clinton.”

Where’s the Votes?

We’ve been updating you regularly on the rate of ballot returns in Colorado, and the news has been pretty consistent: Democrats have been returning ballots at a greater rate than Republicans from wire-to-wire. This is an early voting advantage that has always favored Republicans in Colorado, so the fact that Democrats are ahead at all in pre-Election Day voting is significant news.

According to the latest ballot return figures provided by the Secretary of State’s office, Republicans are starting to catch up, albeit slowly:

Democrats:     508,938
Republicans:  494,757
Unaffiliated:   383,275
TOTAL:          1,406,573

Without enough context, these numbers leave a lot of room for speculation. Where are the rest of the votes? In which counties should we expect to see the largest increases through Election Day? Where in the hell is Hinsdale County?

To help answer those questions, we made a chart:

Colorado ballot return comparison

What does this all mean? That depends on which prior election year you use for comparison’s sake, though any comparison would be difficult given that this is the first year in history that Colorado is an all-mail ballot state in a Presidential cycle.

Since this is a Presidential election year, and since mail ballots should theoretically increase turnout, it’s probably best to compare 2016 turnout with 2012; in that case, it looks like voters in the most populous counties in Colorado are only about halfway to their projected totals. This is likely good news for Democrats, because historically it is Democrats who have usually turned out in greater numbers the closer we get to Election Day.

So, if you’ve volunteered for get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts this weekend, your work will not be in vain. Also, this chart is worthless if you want to find Hinsdale County.

Throwback Thursday: Denver Post, October 31st, 1910

Here’s a blast from Colorado’s pre-election past that was forwarded to us today: the front page of our own Denver Post from Halloween 1910:

fullsizerender-4

As the editorial cartoon you can see above depicts, the Post supported Referendum 3, the Colorado Initiative and Referendum Rights Amendment giving Colorado voters the right to amend the state’s constitution by popular initiative as a check against special interest control of the legislative process.

106 years later as the state votes on a measure to limit constitutional amendments, we could see the same cartoon being relevant with only minor edits.

Poll: Will Amendment 71 Pass?

With the 2016 elections less than one week away, we’re rolling out informal, highly unscientific polls of our readers to gauge where key races and ballot measures stand. As always with our reader polls, we’re looking for your honest prediction–not your personal preference.

Amendment 71 would tighten the requirements to qualify and pass constitutional amendment ballot measures. The amendment gives 1/35th of the state’s population veto power over ballot measures, and raise the threshold for passage to 55%.

[cardoza_wp_poll id=33]

Poll: Will Propositions 107, 108 Pass?

With the 2016 elections less than one week away, we’re rolling out informal, highly unscientific polls of our readers to gauge where key races and ballot measures stand. As always with our reader polls, we’re looking for your honest prediction–not your personal preference.

Propositions 107 and 108 would change the process for primary elections in Colorado. Proposition 107 would restore the presidential primary election following general chaos during this year’s presidential caucusing on both sides. Proposition 108 is more complicated, allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections that were previously the exclusive domain of registered party voters.

One poll for each proposition follows. Happy voting!

[cardoza_wp_poll id=30]

[cardoza_wp_poll id=29]

“Grassroots” Amendment 71 Campaign: Too Clever By Half

amendment71Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger reports on a misfire from the campaign to pass Amendment 71, the “Raise The Bar” measure to make it harder to to amend the state’s constitution:

Voters in Centennial alerted Denver7 to a hand-delivered flyer that some felt was über personal.

The flyers were in envelopes that appeared to be handwritten.

“It looked like it was an envelope from a neighbor,” said Centennial voter Mickki Langston. “I had just opened the door in the morning, and it fell. My immediate thought was, ‘Oh, there’s a neighbor who actually cares about this amendment.”

The envelope contains information from “Raise the Bar,” the group in support of Amendment 71. The amendment would make it more difficult to amend the state’s constitution by changing the requirements for signature collection and the overall vote.

The outside of the envelope reads: “Im (sic) your neighbor and Amendment 71 is important to me. I hope you’ll VOTE YES on Amendment 71!” It appears to be handwritten. Some of the ones delivered in Centennial had “Joey K” actually handwritten at the bottom.

But on closer analysis, there was little if anything “handwritten” about these notes:

“That just feels dishonest,” said Langston. “What bothers me is the irony of a campaign that is about preventing grassroots change using pretend grassroots tactics.”

Not only are the “handwritten” notes not authentic, being mass printed in a typeface that resembles handwriting, but the story of these fake “personal” messages provides a nice segue into the Yes on Amendment 71’s dubious claim to be “grassroots” at all:

“Raise the Bar” has received $5.1 million in contributions. Of that, about $160,000 is from 114 individuals who contributed $250 or less. The rest of the money is from corporations and businesses. More than $3 million has come from oil and gas companies. [Pols emphasis]

And that, dear reader, is how an idea that sounds good in the strategy session goes to hell in the execution.

Postal Workers Beg Trump To Shut The Hell Up

UPDATE: Statement from Doug Jaynes, president of the Colorado chapter of the National Letter Carriers’ Association:

“Postal workers take great pride in the integral role we play in Colorado’s election process. We are proud to play a part in ensuring that every Colorado voter, from the Front Range to the Western Slope, can cast their vote, knowing their ballot will be safely delivered by Colorado’s letter carriers and other postal employees – just as we have sworn under our oath of office to protect and uphold the Constitution.

Donald Trump’s attacks on the integrity of Colorado’s postal employees – nearly a quarter of whom are veterans – are offensive and insulting. He owes the thousands of dedicated Coloradans who uphold the integrity of our state’s elections an apology.”

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tossing-the-mail-awayThe Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports on yesterday’s response by Colorado postal workers to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion that they might trash ballots from conservative voters:

The head of the union representing postal carriers, accompanied by an energized Gov. John Hickenlooper, on Monday denounced remarks made by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump over the weekend that raised questions about the integrity of Colorado’s mail-ballot election.

Doug Jaynes, the president of the Colorado State Association of Letter Carriers, called Trump’s remarks during a Saturday rally in Golden in which the candidate talked about mailed-in ballots being potentially thrown away an “insult” to his profession.

“It’s so important that people don’t get concerned that their ballots aren’t safe,” Jaynes told a small gathering of Hillary Clinton supporters at a Democratic campaign office in Lakewood…

Gov. John Hickenlooper punched one of the more obvious holes in Trump’s logic:

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, touted the integrity of the U.S. Postal Service and asked in a scoffing tone how postal carriers would even know which ballots to discard if they were engaged in such activity.

“What do they have — X-ray eyes?” he asked, to laughter in the room. [Pols emphasis]

Of course, all of this is only funny if you’re not one of the people who believe Trump unquestioningly when he claims the election is “rigged” nationwide and especially here in Colorado. If you do believe Trump, you consider postal workers, Democrats at every level of government, and apparently even Republicans in an election supervisory role in our state to all be in on some kind of massive conspiracy.

Given the fact that postal letter carriers are out by themselves in the community every day, and already have to contend with unruly dogs trying to shred their ankles among other occupational hazards, you can understand why they don’t want the burning rage of Trumpmerica shadowing their every step. Especially after next Tuesday.

So for the record, neither postal workers, Republican county clerks, our Republican Secretary of State, nor anybody else who may be in lawful contact with your mail ballot once it leaves your physical custody has any desire to trash it.

Please share this important message with your friends.

Trump Questions Colorado Elections While Local Officials Fume

Donald Trump knows this much about Colorado elections.

Donald Trump knows this much about Colorado elections.

CNN reports from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s rally in Greeley yesterday:

Donald Trump for the second day in a row questioned the validity of this swing state’s largely mail-in voting system, the latest instance of the Republican nominee expressing skepticism about the legitimacy of the electoral process.

Trump kicked off his rally here on Sunday by encouraging his supporters to “make sure” their ballots are properly counted, saying that he is a “skeptical person” when it comes to the state’s largely vote-by-mail process. He then encouraged his supporters to get a “new ballot” in person at a local polling location.

“They’ll give you a ballot, a new ballot. They’ll void your old ballot, they will give you a new ballot. And you can go out and make sure it gets in,” Trump said…

“In some places they probably do that four or five times. We don’t do that. But that’s great,” Trump said Sunday, appearing to hint at the possibility of voter fraud in Colorado, a rare prospect Trump has continued to hammer on the stump.

The spokesperson for Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams could not be any clearer with her response:

bartelselection

The Denver Post’s John Frank adds:

Reacting to Trump, Denver elections chief Amber McReynolds said Sunday the current mail-ballot process includes more checks than prior presidential elections.

“From my perspective, it’s just a lack of understanding of all the safeguards and all the processes that we have in Colorado,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

Trump’s “lack of understanding” about how elections work, either in Colorado or anywhere else, is nonetheless fueling a fresh round of conspiracy-making among Republicans bracing themselves for what may well be an historic defeat next week–and in the context of Trump’s vague threats to not respect the results of the election, a potentially scary development. As a Republican in the position of presiding his first statewide election this year, we have real sympathy for Secretary of State Williams and his longsuffering spox. Williams has to do the responsible thing, which is reassure the voters of Colorado that the system is sound, while not becoming too vocal in criticizing his party’s presidential nominee. It’s a tough needle to thread.

Is there more Williams could be doing to call out Trump’s baseless falsehoods about our elections? Probably. Is he doing more to combat this misinformation than his predecessor Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler would have done? Definitely–and that’s to Williams’ profound credit.

For the next week, we think one of the most important things every one of us who understands that our elections are not under threat from any kind of systemic fraud can do is tell everyone you know. Especially the people you know who are kind of, you know, unhinged. By openly attacking the election system just before an election he is likely to lose, Trump is playing with fire in a way we haven’t seen in American politics…maybe ever.

No one should be helping Trump undermine confidence in our most precious of institutions, and we’re relieved to see that Williams has this measure of integrity.