Close presidential race could end in the House


— Area political party leaders say that, based on recent polling by new agencies, the presidential race in November could come down to the last ballot cast.
That makes today, the last day to register to vote in Colorado, all that more important.
"Eight electoral votes are going to be extremely important in this election," said Democratic Party Press Secretary John Willard about Colorado's electoral votes. "We consider Colorado an extremely important state. This will be one of the closest, if not the closest presidential race in history."
National polls seem to confirm Willard's opinion.
Most major polls show Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George Bush in a tight race.
A Newsweek poll shows Gore with 44 percent and Bush at 43 percent of likely voters. A Reuters/MSNBC poll also shows a one percent difference.
ABC News shows the electoral college vote tightening up as well.
According to ABC News, Bush has gained for a second week, but is still behind in the electoral college with 184 votes to Gore's 208 electoral votes.
Willard said this closing of the gap confirms his opinion that neither could get the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
Because the race is so close, both Republican and Democratic party leaders say it could end up in the House of Representatives.
If neither candidate gets 270 electoral votes, then the president is chosen by the House of Representatives.
"What's interesting is each state gets one vote," said Sean Murphy, executive director of the Colorado Republican Party. "Each state polls their house delegation and gets one vote."
With the way the Republican's dominate the House of Representatives, that means Bush wins said both Murphy and Willard.
But Murphy disagrees with Willard's assumption that Colorado is up for grabs as far as the popular vote goes.
"Colorado is still Bush country," said Murphy, who says the Democrats' own polling shows Bush ahead by double digits in Colorado.
Both Murphy and Willard agree that one candidate could very well win the electoral vote without winning the popular vote.
"If the election were held today, Gore would win the electoral college vote, but if you look at the number of popular votes, Bush would win," said Willard. "The votes in Texas would affect the popular vote."
As for an election being tossed to the House of Representatives "if it continues to be as close nationally as they're talking, that scenario becomes more plausible," said Murphy.
Voter registration applications can be picked up at libraries, post offices and municipal offices. Applications postmarked today, Oct. 10, will be accepted.

To reach Frances Hohl call 871-4208 or e-mail


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