On Tuesday, the last day of voter registration in Colorado, the state elections website got four times its normal traffic, enough to swamp the servers and crash the page. Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler says the site got 162,713 visits that day, with 36,206 people either registering to vote or updating their registrations.
What could have motivated so many Coloradans to become voters at the last minute? Gessler credits a campaign by the state to get more people to sign up. By why so many in the last few days, and especially on October 9? Consider this report, from the advocates of legalizing marijuana at NORML, dated October 9, the last day of registration:
The University of Denver has just released a new poll of likely Colorado voters and the results are encouraging for marijuana law reform advocates. With just under a month until election day, Colorado’s Amendment 64, which aims to regulate marijuana like alcohol, is still enjoying a ten point lead in the polls.
For the record, the new poll (pdf) shows Colorado's current referendum to legalize pot is up 50 percent to 40 percent, with 10 percent undecided. It was released on Sunday, which is about when folks in Colorado say the system for online voter registration started going fritzy from heavy traffic.
Any connection between the ballot issue for legalizing pot and the rush to register is, of course, purely speculative. Far more concrete is the news that Gessler expects results this week on his challenges to the registrations of 2,400 people. His last purge led to kicking 14 people off the rolls, after he challenged the voting rights of nearly 4,000 people.