I’ll get right to it. The Democrats handed the Colorado election this year to the Republicans.
No, it has nothing to do with Mark Udall voting the Democratic agenda the same as Cory Gardner toes the GOP line, which is absolutely true and hardly news. It had nothing to do with Hickenlooper’s intelligent and judicious decision to set aside Nathan Dunlap’s death sentence. It had nothing to do with Andrew Romanoff’s work with former GOP Gov. Bill Owens on Referendum C, which actually saved Colorado roads and schools and never raised anyone’s taxes.
No, Colorado Democrats will lose big this year because of — stamps.
If you’ve read this far, you probably care enough to vote at least sometimes. And that’s where trouble began for Democrats. Sadly, more people who can vote, don’t these days. Two years ago, Democrats at the Legislature came up with a great idea: Since a lot of people don’t vote because it’s a hassle, why not make it as easy as we can, so more people do?
Of course, you have to know that wealthier, older people bother to vote more than poorer, less-white, younger people. Go figure. And, the older, whiter and richer you are, the more likely it is you vote Republican. Go figure.
So you can see why state Republicans wanted no part in making it easier for poorer, browner, younger folks to vote. And you can also see how Democrats thought this was the best idea to win elections since Todd Akin. So with just about every Republican at the Capitol kicking and screaming, Democrats changed election law so that, for the first time in Colorado, every registered voter gets a mail-in ballot. Even better, people can register to vote right up to the time the polls close at regional voter centers on Election Day.
What could go wrong? As of Tuesday, it looks like about 10 percent more Republicans across the state are returning ballots than are Democrats.
How could that be? There are about the same number of registered Democrats in the state as Republicans.
So now that you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re what my daughter would call, “old.” Old is anyone born before 1990. And you have probably already mailed back your ballot. But those state residents that both parties want so badly — and who can’t remember a time before the Internet and cell phones — barely know what postage stamps are.
Oh really? Exaggerating am I? My nearly 20-year-old daughter told me she thinks she mailed something having to do with college or insurance a year or so ago. She’s like all the smartass kids in the newsroom and pays for everything online. One reporter thinks he might have a couple of stamps at home he used for wedding thank-you notes a few years ago, but he’s not sure. Nobody here knew how much it cost to mail anything.
The U.S. Postal Service is going broke, in part, because few under my advanced age of 55 mails or receives squat. And anyone under 30? No way, dude. They look for iTunes cards in the mail from Gramma at Christmas. That’s it.
You can’t blame them. It’s not cheap. After a lot of research and wrong answers, we discovered that a “stamp” these days costs $0.49, and most ballots require two stamps to send them back. That’s a buck. One quipster here pointed out that he thought it was pretty amazing you could physically get something across the country, delivered from your house to theirs, for only 50 cents — if for some reason you would ever want to do that. But for me, a buck is a lot to cancel out the vote of my conservative pal, Ron. For those less motivated? They might as well be required to send it by owl, which they’re much more familiar with.
So pretty much the entire hopes and dreams of blue candidates like Udall, Hickenlooper and Romanoff depend on the young and the poor getting a ballot from their mail-box, wherever that is, filling it out, and then putting postage stamps on it, and mailing it back.
Of course anyone can actually drop their ballot off at a voting center or a list of places that practically take it from your car window. But we’re talking kids here. Ain’t gonna happen. If you could leave them at Starbucks or Chipotle, Dems might have a chance.
But if the only thing keeping Colorado from turning as red as Wyoming is my daughter’s generation mailing in their ballots, it’s all over. The check-mark isn’t in the mail.
Reach editor Dave Perry at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.