Now that John Hickenlooper has voted, he can get back to the budget.

The week ahead: From the election to the economy, it's scary

Boo! Want to avoid scary lines on November 4? You can still ask for a mail-in-ballot through 5 p.m. October 28 -- but that's putting a lot of faith in our election commissions, their crazy California printers and the U.S. postal service. A better bet: early voting, which continues through October 31. (But if you've already requested a mail-in ballot that has yet to appear, you might want to wait a few more days before giving up and going to an early-vote center, since there you'll be asked to cast a provisional ballot.) To find out your voter-registration status, go to govotecolorado.com.

More scary issues here at home give you an opportunity to see democracy in action, because while the stock market falls faster than John McCain's polling numbers, local governments are grappling with major economic challenges. Denver is finalizing next year's budget; there's a public hearing during tonight's Denver City Council meeting at City Hall ; the yakking starts at 5:30 p.m. The Governor's Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel is back from its road show with a public discussion in Denver from 10 a.m-3 p.m. today. Jessica Centers described one of the panel's odd roadblocks -- that people don't believe the state has a transportation problem -- in this blog; for details on today's meeting, click here.

For more high-minded civic engagement, the Colorado Court of Appeals will leave the courtroom and head to Alameda High school tomorrow to consider two cases that put CSI to shame for real-life drama: one involving a liquor store owner who was sued for allegedly supplying alcohol to a man who later caused an auto accident that killed two children, the other the case of a man sentenced to ten years in prison for knocking down his mother with a car. There auto be a law! The arguments are open to the public; find more information here.

Finally, you can act locally, think galactically -- and then some -- by turning on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. tonight (MST), when the Colorado-based Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) will be featured in a show titled UFOs Over the Earth.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. -- Patricia Calhoun

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