Early voting underway in Colorado

DENVER - Early voting started in Colorado Monday and the campaigns are trying to energize voters.

This weekend, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had comedian Jeff Foxworthy helping get out the vote in Colorado Springs. In Denver, Current Mayor Michael Hancock and former Mayors Federico Pena and Wellington Webb were trying to energize Democratic voters.

"What I think it does is change the strategies of the two candidates," said Peter Hanson, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Denver.

Hanson said early voting in Colorado means the candidates are forced to make their final pitch to voters earlier. It is one reason he said the two presidential debates were more important in this election, than previous years. Monday's debate is focused on foreign policy, which is not the number one issue for voters this year.

"I suspect that the audience will be a little bit smaller for this debate," said Hanson. "The stakes are a little bit lower, but certainly given how the first two debates have gone, both candidates will be pressured to be at the top of their game."

The founder of the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College in Oregon recently predicted as much as 40 percent of eligible voters will cast an early ballot this year.

In Colorado, Hanson thinks the election will come down to mobilization. The Latino vote, which is one million people strong in the state, will also prove to be crucial.

"There's still an issue with turnout not being as strong as it could be," said Hanson. "So, if there's high Latino turnout that will certainly help Barack Obama. If it is on the lower side, he'll have a much more challenging road."

To find the nearest early voting location near you, log onto the Colorado Secretary of State's Office. Then click on the county you live in for information on voting in your area.

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