In the old days, meaning about ten years ago, most of Colorado voters voted the old fashioned way. They waited until Election Day and then went to their assigned voting places, waited in line and then placed their votes in the privacy of a voting booth, and then went home.
Then came 2006.
2006 was a disaster that will be long remembered for the long lines that voters in Denver and Douglas County sat in while trying to place their vote. After the 2006 disaster, most of the metro area counties changed their voting systems and offered mail-in ballots.
That move has changed election strategy in Colorado forever. It also means that Election Day is no longer simply the first Tuesday in November. In Colorado, Election Day starts as soon as the first mail-in ballots get sent to voters.
That means Election Day 2012 starts today.
While voters who choose to send in a mail-in ballot have until November 6th to submit their ballot, many voters place their vote and send it in very soon after they receive it. Some wait a week or so, and some fill it in on November 6th and drop it off to a ballot center.
The point is no one, including the campaigns, can be sure when everyone fills out their ballot because it happens throughout the next three weeks. That uncertainty forces campaigns to treat the next three weeks as if was the last 24 hours to get votes.
So while Coloradans have endured a nasty and intense campaign and more than our fair share of campaign ads, it is only going to get worse over the next twenty one days.
Between Colorado’s swing state status only getting tighter in the last few days, and some of our Congressional races coming down to the wire, we were are not running a shortage on intensity. Some may question if it can even get more intense.
We’re about to fully understand the answer to that question is an emphatic yes.
There is one silver lining to this situation for people suffering through countless robocalls and mail pieces flooding their mailboxes. If you decide to submit your mail-in ballot as soon as you receive it, you are entered into a database as having completed your ballot and any campaign looking to use only updated voting list will not contact you.
Now, this won’t work for your TV and radio, and not every campaign uses constantly updated lists, but for those that do, you would no longer be an attractive voter since your ballot would have already been completed.
I am certainly not advocating anyone to submit their ballot before they are ready, but that is a nice fringe benefit for some early birds.
Imagine if they could spread that benefit to cover ads on your TV and radio. Every Coloradan would have their votes placed by later this week.
Until then, and definitely for the next three weeks, we will need to endure an even more intense campaign as our Election Day officially opens this week.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.