In Arapahoe County, several voters made their way into the county building to cast their ballots on the first day of statewide in-person voting.
Arapahoe has been among the country’s most highly sought-after swing counties in past presidential elections, but it is now tilting decidedly blue after electing Rep. Jason Crow (D) in 2018.
Nigerian immigrants Dorothy Ohake, 52, and Deborah Guang, 50, came together to drop off their mail ballots on a break from their jobs at separate nursing homes. The pair described a harrowing spring as they worked seven days a week when co-workers afraid of the coronavirus decided to stay home. Both said their facilities lost whole “units,” numbering 8 to 10 people each, of elderly residents.
Ohake, who spent months shedding her nursing uniform in the garage each day after work to protect her family, said she’s dreading another wave of the virus, as Colorado’s positivity rate climbed over 5 percent this month, and the number of people hospitalized in the state is the highest since May 31.
“This is one of the most critically important elections in our lifetime,” said Ohake, who voted for Biden, hoping his embrace of science will bring the virus under control and return her nursing home to some normalcy. “My job was like a war zone in March and April. I can’t take it a second time; it’s just too much stress.”
Ohake, who is urging her friends to vote early, added that she’s afraid violence will ensue at polling locations Nov. 3. Guang said that she also voted for Biden and expressed disgust at Trump’s disregard for medical professionals’ opinions.
“He doesn’t respect anybody. My values are Republican values, pro-life, sanctity of marriage, but there’s just too much division,” Guang said. “The president is 100 percent racist.”
A few miles south in Aurora, one of the nation’s most diverse cities, cars lined up onto a side street as people drove into the parking lot lined with pine trees at Mission Viejo Library to deposit their ballots in a white drop-off box.
Lizzy Buckmann’s 4-year-old son Destyn stood on the tiptoes of his white and black checkered Vans to push her mail ballot into the metal slot. He grinned as an election judge handed him an “I Voted” sticker and immediately peeled off the back and pasted it onto his navy blue Denver Broncos shirt.
Buckmann, who also has a 9-year-old and a 15-year-old, said she voted for Biden because she likes his and Harris’s plan to provide child care for more American families. “Child care is too expensive. I need to make sure Destyn and my other kids are well taken care of,” said Buckmann, 34, who works at home for AT&T.
Like other in-person voters in Colorado on Monday, the mom of three, who wore a baby blue shirt that read “2020 — Absolutely Horrible,” said she felt a weight off her shoulders to have voting taken care of.
So did Mike Storin, 69, a retired eighth-grade science teacher who made a rare foray out of his house Monday. Storin said he voted early for Biden because “I want my vote to count,” and because he’s worried about the country his 5-year-old grandson is growing up in.
“I’ve never seen this country as divided as it is right now,” Storin said. He cheered on other drivers in cars waiting to drop off ballots, telling them: “Good for you! Way to come out! Isn’t this exciting?”