August 8 2006, 12:27 PM
Today is primary day, and as Jeralyn wrote earlier, there are several big races waiting to be decided until the polls close at 7:00 p.m. If you haven't voted yet, make sure you get out and mark your ballot. If you have voted already, you're part of a growing trend in Colorado that is changing the way elections are run. It used to be that campaigns would save most of their money for advertising in the one or two weeks leading up to election day, but so many people are now voting early that you can't rely on that strategy anymore. Absentee ballots started arriving in mailboxes in early July, and early voting at a few polling locations began last week. When you combine the number of people who vote early and who vote absentee, more than half of the votes are now cast before election day. In congressional district seven (Jefferson County, Adams County and Aurora), nearly 12,000 people had already voted as of early last week. Only 20,000 people voted in total the last time CD-7 saw a Democratic primary in 2002. The story is the same throughout Colorado. The Grand Junction Sentinel reported today that roughly two-thirds of the expected 15,000 voters in Mesa County had already voted as of today. Campaigns may have run great TV ads last week, and they may have sent out fantastic pieces of direct mail. But for many of the people who saw them, it was already too late. It doesn't just matter anymore which candidate has the momentum heading into election day; if you didn't have the momentum three weeks ago, you're coming from behind.