Mile-High Headlines for Friday, October 31

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Election Curse Colorado seems headed for an Election Day crisis. It’s unclear how many voters will arrive at their election site only to find they’re not on the rolls. They might get provisional ballots, which are issued by verified election judges and which might be counted in the days following the election. Or maybe, hoping to avoid that mess, voters have mailed in their ballots. Yet 35,000 mail ballots from newly registered voters might be set aside because some people were confused about a rule that requires them to include a copy of their identification, according to the Rocky Mountain News. If that happens, the ballots could be treated as provisional ballots, giving clerks a chance to vet them individually. But the tiniest problem could lead to votes being dumped. Late on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Coffman’s office reached an agreement meant to ensure the voting rights of another 30,000 Coloradans who were purged from the rolls. (Here’s one of the many articles on that news item, via The Colorado Independent). With just a few days until Tuesday, are you scared? Good. Start easing those fears by reading The Denver Post‘s handy how-to: “What you need to know to make your vote count.” Presidential Poltergeists As the eleventh-hour presidential train zooms through Colorado, with Barack Obama swinging through Pueblo on Saturday and a John McCain visit possible, feel free to just kick back on the couch. Both the respective Democrat and Republican continue to bombard voters via television. TV-happy Obama is now far outpacing McCain in that race, according to Nielsen Co. ratings (via the Denver Business Journal). In the final week approaching Election Day, Obama is running nearly 300 ads a day in the Denver and Colorado Springs-Pueblo markets. McCain is running 55 a day, down from 234 earlier this month (around the time Obama was running 345 ads a day). Obama’s 30-minute, prime-time infomercial, which ran on every major TV network but ABC, was seen by one in five Colorado households, according to this Journal story. … Perhaps you’ve always wanted a glamorous career covering the presidential race as a journalist. Try being Candy Crowley for a day. Her head is spinning, her “strategic nice reserve” went empty two months ago, and she just wants to go home, according to this article from The New Republic.

The Ghosts of the DNC Yesterday, jurors acquitted three young activists who were arrested during the Democratic National Convention for blocking a street. But not before jury forewoman Julia Bucher scolded them to “behave in a more lawful and responsible manner in the future,” according to the Rocky Mountain News. That didn’t stop 23-year-old Michael Loeffler of Maryland, Justin Whitaker, 20, and Jeffrey Labow, 21, both of West Virginia, from smiling and backslapping in a case defense attorney Robert Corry calls a “major victory” for freedom of speech. It seems the the city can’t catch a break: “In cases set for trial beginning last week, eight were dismissed by the city attorney, one person was convicted, three were acquitted by juries, two were acquitted by judges and one faces retrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict,” according to the Rocky. Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union called on Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor to investigate police conduct during the convention, according to The Denver Post, which cites a large confrontation between police and activists at 15th Street and Court Place on August 25. Haunting Prison Statistics Colorado may be able to put aside a $336 million plan to expand a prison in Trinidad by more than 2,000 beds if it changes its mind-set about crime and punishment. That was the example cited by the Rocky Mountain News as Governor Bill Ritter, a former prosecutor, announced an effort to save taxpayers millions of dollars in “skyrocketing” prison costs in coming years by shifting the emphasis on crime to prevention programs for young people, community programs for nonviolent criminals, and more rehabilitation and help for substance abusers and the mentally ill. The proposed one-year price tag is $10.6 million, which is slated to go to the state legislature’s budget committee next week. Ritter says the state would ultimately save money–that is, if the effort reduces the rate of repeat offenders, which is currently 53 percent. Meanwhile, ABC 7News takes a closer look at the kind of program that might be expanded if Ritter gets his way. Something to Scream About In 2002, temperatures dipped to a frightfully cold 18 degrees on Halloween. There was bone-chilling ice everywhere and no shortage of revelers wearing winter coats over their costumes. That’s not the case tonight. This year will be one of the warmest ever, according to 9News, with daytime temperatures in the mid-70s, falling to the 50s by dusk. … The forecast tonight also might include the occasional cop–actually, that’s Mr. or Ms. Officer or Trooper if you’re pulled over. Police agencies across the state begin a DUI watch at 6 p.m. tonight that lasts through 3 a.m. on Monday, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Last year, 549 people were arrested. … If you’re down in Manitou Springs you might want to see for yourself if Briarhurst Manor is haunted. There’s weird stuff going on there: levitating vases, mysterious footprints, and more, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The Watchers As Colorado State University’s football team takes on 17th-ranked Brigham Young University tomorrow, scouts for six National Football League teams will be watching. The draw, notes The Denver Post, is likely BYU and all its talented players. Yet the scouts are also likely to be checking out 6’6”, 250-pound Kory Sperry, who has won the national tight end of the week award already twice this season. He needs just four touchdown catches in the remaining four games (or five with a bowl) to tie the school’s TD reception record. Dry Ice The Colorado Avalanche struggled on the Pepsi Center’s ice last night, a paltry display of dismal goal-keeping and little offensive fire power, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The Columbus Blue Jackets dominated the Avs for two periods, going on to win 4-2, as goaltender Andrew Raycroft struggled. Peter Budaj, also a bit unpredictable in front of the net, replaced Raycroft in the third period as the Avs rallied. Time simply ran out. Videodose: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, whom Barack Obama calls “another skinny guy with a funny name” (hey, I can relate), is the subject of a new documentary rife with buddy-buddy Dems. The to-be-released documentary, “Hick Town,” is produced by a cousin of the mayor, George Hickenlooper. Check out a promo here. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.10, Sunmart, 7170 Pecos St. (via