Photos: Colorado Democrats push early vote (for Obama) on heels of high registration numbers
Today is the first day that voters can cast their ballots in person as part of early voting in Colorado -- and the state's top Democratic officials set an example by voting in front of a bunch of cameras in Denver. The photo op underscores how important the ground game is for Obama in key swing states and how the Democrats, on the heels of national polls showing the presidential race tied among likely voters, must turn registrations into votes.
Big photos below.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced record-breaking results of registration this season, which he attributed in part to his expensive ad campaign across the state encouraging people to sign up to vote.
But Gessler, a Republican, has continued to face criticisms that he is too focused on preventing fraud and intimidating voters along the way -- especially ones who won't be supporting Mitt Romney. Part of his response is that his office has helped register an unprecedented number of voters -- and in the final weeks before the deadline, more Democrats than Republicans.
Sam Levin Mayor Michael Hancock, Senator Michael Bennet, Representative Diana DeGette, and Governor John Hickenlooper casting their ballots.
Numbers sent to us last week from Gessler's office show that Democrats have outpaced Republicans in terms of new residents signing up to vote -- a fact that highlights just how important it is for the Obama campaign to get those supporters to vote in the coming weeks.
As we noted in our August feature on why Colorado is such an important battleground state, the largest chunk of registered voters fall in the "unaffiliated" category. But overall there is a pretty even split between Democrats, Republicans and the unaffiliated voters.
While the unaffiliated group still has the largest number of voters, followed by the Republicans, than the Democrats, the net growth in registrations over the last month has clearly favored Obama supporters.
Here's a chart sent to us from Gessler's office, outlining the changes since September.
From September 1 to October 9, a total of 21,307 residents newly registered as Republicans, while registrations for Democrats reached 39,497 -- about 18,000 more than GOP voters over that time period. Still, the 52,875 grand total of new unaffiliated registered voters is almost as high as the two parties combined, making it clear that category is still going to be crucial come election day.
Courtesy of Rich Coolidge, Secretary of State's office.
The chart also shows that at each step of the way, Democrats continued to register more voters than Republicans. For example, from September 15 to October 1, the Secretary of State's office only logged 8,524 new Republican voters -- about half of what the Democrats logged during that time, with a net jump of 17,611 new voters.
Continue for commentary from the state's top Democratic officials and more photos of the Denver Elections Division.