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Panorama: Provisional Democracy

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, October 30

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Sorting Out the Election Mess

Tens of thousands of voters whose names were dropped from voter rolls by Secretary of State Mike Coffman will now receive provisional ballots on Election Day and assurances that their votes will be counted. That’s according to The Associated Press, KUNC radio, and myriad other news outlets, which report that a federal judge has accepted a deal between Coffman, a Republican running for Congress, and the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that claimed roughly 30,000 voters were illegally purged from the voter list. Still, there are many problems waiting for voters: “Ice storm. Power outage. Lines around the block,” as the Rocky Mountain News notes. And, as I noted yesterday at 5280.com, Electionline.org has placed Colorado on its watch list for too many reasons to cite here. The Colorado Independent has long been identifying election-system problems. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone goes a step further, suggesting a conspiracy that includes Colorado: “In state after state, Republican operatives–the party’s elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics–are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats.”

Obama IV: The Obaminator Returns

Barack Obama will return to Colorado this weekend in his fourth visit to the state since the Democratic National Convention. And it seems the Democrat’s Republican rival, John McCain, will also swing through one more time for good measure (via the Rocky Mountain News), in last-minute campaigning for Colorado’s nine electoral votes. Obama and his wife, Michelle, will rally in Pueblo at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and McCain’s schedule could be released today. An Associated Press poll released yesterday gives Obama the lead in six of eight swing states. He has a nine-point margin in Colorado. Eight in ten people polled by AP were worried about the economy, and of that group six in ten back Obama. “Two-thirds of those not too concerned about the economy back McCain,” according to the poll. Nationwide, Real Clear Politics, which blends polls, has Obama leading by 6.2 points, meaning McCain is gaining lost ground. Meanwhile, a Washington Post blog provides snapshots of lights burning late in small offices in Colorado and elsewhere during the final week of the presidential campaign.

Qwest’s Woes

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The unemployment rate in Colorado fell from 5.2 percent in August to 4.9 percent last month–a spot of good news even if unemployment was 3.8 percent a year ago, notes the Denver Business Journal. But then again, the numbers from Qwest Communications International Inc. haven’t trickled in. Yesterday, Qwest, struggling with a 93 percent decline in earnings, announced it will cut 1,200 jobs, according to another Journal story. The layoffs come as Qwest is negotiating a new contract with its largest labor union. Roughly two-thirds of the cuts could come from union ranks, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The layoffs would leave Qwest with 33,400 employees, “half as many as in 2001.”

Health Insurance: Women and Children Last

Colorado ranks seventh in the nation in terms of the most uninsured children, a study released yesterday by the nonprofit, non-partisan Families USA indicates. One in eight children across the state have no health insurance based on the 2005-2007 Census data cited in the study, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Almost 94 percent of the uninsured children live in families with at least one parent who works. Meanwhile, “striking new evidence” shows that women pay hundreds of dollars more each year than men for identical individual insurance coverage, according to The New York Times, leading women’s advocates and Congress to ask questions at a time when more and more people are shopping for their own coverage. Insurers say women age 19 to 55 typically access coverage more often, including to have babies. However, women still pay more for insurance that doesn’t cover maternity care, according to the Times.

A Plea for Football Outside the Football Zone

If you’re a big Denver Broncos fan and live, say, in Colorado Springs or Grand Junction, there’s no guarantee the games will be broadcast on your television as of November 6. That just riles 13 U.S. senators, including Colorado’s Ken Salazar, a Democrat, and Wayne Allard, a Republican, who want National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to do something about it, according to the Denver Business Journal, which notes that the NFL Network seeks to restrict the viewing of games outside a team’s “home market.” Salazar says the interpretation of markets is a “disservice” to fans in Colorado and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Joe Tone, an apparently angry writer for Westword.com, cast the issue as a distraction from the nation’s financial problems and housing crisis.

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Cutler Looks Good to Go

Jay Cutler’s finger is better, according to the man himself. It was injured 10 days ago during the first quarter of the Broncos’ humiliating Monday night loss in New England. But coming off a bye week, Cutler says he “got lucky” and his finger “feels pretty good” going into Sunday’s game versus Miami at Invesco Field, according to The Denver Post. It’s a big concern, because backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey’s elbow was also injured against the Patriots, putting him out for the season. Third-string quarterback Darrell Hackney is expected to be placed on the active roster lest the Broncos rely on the stopgap quarterback, Mike Leach, a tight end who last played in the position on his high school team.

Nuggets Lose Their First

Rekindling memories of last year’s promising, yet so frustrating, season, Allen Iverson was “chewing maniacally on his mouth guard” as he entered the tunnel toward Denver’s locker room in Utah, following a 98-94 loss to the Jazz, according to The Denver Post. Kenyon Martin missed a critical three-point try in the final seconds, allowing the Jazz’s Ronnie Brewer to grab a rebound and hit a “coffin-nailing free throw…” Afterward, Iverson wasn’t interested in any sort of talk about “moral victories,” about which he said he could “care less.” “I want a win,” he said.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.10, Pecos Sunmart, 7170 Pecos St. (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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