Dems look to new Colorado voting law to save Senate

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Colorado is the key to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s firewall. It, along with Democrat-held seats in Iowa and North Carolina, is part of the last line of defense against Republican majority. If they lose any of these three seats, it would be hard to imagine Reid & Co. holding the Senate. And right now, things aren’t looking good for the blue team in Colorado. After an abysmal campaign by Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner holds a lead of nearly 3 points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. And any incumbent polling at an average of 44 percent the week before the election would ordinarily look like a sure loser. But Colorado’s election is going to be anything but ordinary. The combination of same-day registration and mail-in ballots also has many on the right worried about outright fraud in what could be a razor-thin vote to decide a razor-thin Senate majority. Even without fraud, though, Republicans have reason to worry.

Wild West – Colorado is making its first foray into voting by mail, leaving just a handful of in-person polling places around the state. Similar moves in Washington and Oregon have helped cement those states as Democratic bastions after decades of dabbling in occasional Republicanism. Instead of having to physically take unenthusiastic voters to the polls in vans, Democrats could just catch them at home and get them to sign on the line and mail in their votes. But the specifics of Colorado’s law, as David Drucker explains, go far beyond even what’s been done in the Northwest. As Democrats work hard to fire up Hispanic voters with talk of a mass amnesty granted by President Obama after the election, Colorado also remains the only state on the midterm map to boast a large enough Latino population to provide an opportunity for Obama-style demographic dicing to be successful. As Democrats demonstrated in 2010 for Reid, an organizing surge can help save an incumbent down in the polls.

Not flat-footed – Republicans, though, have learned some lessons in Colorado. Aside from actually competing for Latino votes, the GOP has also gone all in on the vote-by-mail system. With over a half million ballots received, according to the most recent figures from Colorado’s secretary of state, election offices have tallied 62,000 more ballots from Republican voters than Democrats. That puts the GOP in the lead with 44 percent to Dems’ 32 percent, hardly where anyone expected the race to be given the incredible sums that Democrats have spent on advertising and organization.

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