Being in one of the most watched two or three states in the whole country on election night is no small shakes for the 64 county clerks charged with counting the precious votes that could mean victory for either GOP candidate Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama.
Many clerks - such as Arapahoe County's Nancy Doty and El Paso County's Wayne Williams - have contingency plans to staff shifts all night until ballots are counted. Others have brought in last-minute additional temporary workers in case it's especially crowded at voting booths or an electronic machine goes down.
"This entire election, there has been more pressure, more scrutiny, more angst from the voting public about ensuring their vote counts," said Sheila Reiner, Mesa County clerk and recorder. "That's different this year."
Some clerks - Adams County's Karen Long and Larimer County's Scott Doyle among them - plan on sending employees home around midnight and picking up early Wednesday, even if it's close and the country is watching Colorado.
"I can't kill my judges. I just won't do it," Doyle said, referring to his 1,000 temporary workers who went through background checks and about two to four hours of training to help out during the crazy season. "I wish people would just vote and get them in. They know who they're going to vote for."
Gov. John Hickenlooper will urge them to keep counting if the election is still in the balance.
"We are all anxious," Hickenlooper said. "We will certainly encourage them to keep counting if it's close. And I can all but guarantee there will be volunteers from both parties camped out at that doorstep. There is a great deal of anxiety on both sides."
The counting judges are temporary workers, many of them retired, who earn $125 a day or $10 an hour, depending on the position. There are more than 6,000 of them statewide, and they are paired in bipartisan teams of two - a Republican with an unaffiliated, for example - and they feed mail ballots into machines, man the voter check-in tables and help unregistered voters fill out provisional ballots.
The boost in mail and early in-person voting should make Election Day easier for clerks because so much of the tabulating is done in advance. Though clerks won't "tally" votes collected through Monday until 7 p.m. on Election Day, the votes already cast are in the computer, and results of early and mail voting will be available as early as 7:10 p.m.
That doesn't do a lot of good, though, if people wait until Election Day to bring in their mail ballot, said Steve Moreno, Weld County clerk and recorder, who still had some 40,000 mail ballots out last week.
"We'll be overwhelmed if people wait and those all come back Tuesday," he said.
Colorado is no stranger to close elections.
Most recently, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet won his seat in 2010 by less than 1 percent of the vote. The Denver Post called the election at about 6 a.m. the day after the polls closed. In 2000, current U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, won a statewide school-board seat by 90 votes.
State taxpayers will pay for a recount only when there is roughly a 6,500-vote difference, depending on voter turnout. It's a formula that takes the difference between the top two vote-getters and divides that by the votes received by the top vote-getter.
But if either party felt uneasy about the results, it could pay for its own recount - which would run about $2 million, said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Colorado secretary of state.
Though clerks would love it if everyone voted early, there is still a large number of people who like the pageantry of a booth, waiting in a precinct line with their neighbors, the whole feeling of the day.
Fortunately for Colorado, the weather Tuesday is supposed to be sunny and mild with little chance of rain.
"I still enjoy the majesty of Election Day and walking into the privacy of a ballot booth and knowing there is no one else who can affect how I vote," said former state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams. "I think there's something rather sacred about it."