Scott Gessler touts smooth voting in Colorado, predicts Mitt Romney will take state
On reports that some machines were counting Romney votes for Obama, Gessler says his team visited those sites and determined that the devices are working properly.
"We couldn't reproduce the problem, spent a fair amount of time there," he says, adding that officials from the canvass boards were satisfied with the results and that he is confident they are functioning smoothly. "We subject them to a rigorous amount of scrutiny."
Sam Levin Scott Gessler signing a Secretary of State registration poster.
As of this afternoon, Gessler says it's clear that the race is very close in Colorado, as expected, but that the GOP maintains a lead in turnout -- which the party has had since the early voting period.
The latest turnout statistics, sent just after 5:30 p.m. from the Secretary of State's office show that 677,473 Democrats have voted, compared to 719,597 Republicans. And 588,430 unaffiliated voters have also shown up to the polls.
"Obviously, it's going to depend on how the independents break. But right now if independents are even 50-50, then the Democrats have a bit of a hole they have to fill," he says, noting that this assumes voters are casting ballots for the candidates in their parties with equal intensity. "If anything, some of the stuff I've seen shows that maybe two, three percentage points of Democrats are peeling off and voting Republican instead."
With 1.9 million cast, and assuming the unaffiliated split evenly -- which, he notes, is a big assumption -- the Democrats do have a notable hole to fill, he says.
As of this writing, just over two million votes have been cast, with 42,124 more Republicans than Democrats showing up.
He expects 2.6 to 2.7 million voters to turn out, given that there are 400,000 more registered voters this year than in 2008. He also says it is highly unlikely there will be a statewide recount, but that it is probable there will be a recount for a legislative race.
The chief elections officer position is a nonpartisan one, but outside of the Secretary of State's office, Gessler is an active Republican and a Mitt Romney supporter.
At the end of our interview, he says that he may go to a GOP watch party tonight, but will monitor progress in his office first and ensure everything is running smoothly.
And how is he personally feeling about the election?
"Look, my view is that we're at a crossroads here in this country...and the last four years have been a very brutal four years," he says. "And the things that have been tried by the federal government have consistently failed.... I think it's unfortunate that when people propose solutions that will not even balance our budget, but balance our budget in fifteen years, they're sort of demonized.
"But my view is this," he continues. "We have a choice: We're either gonna fix our problems soon and it's gonna be painful, but we'll able to get through, or we're going to at least, I think under this administration, continue to kick the can down the road, and we're gonna fix our problems later and it's gonna be very, very painful."
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