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Colorado Secretary of State says voter turnout could exceed 2019, 2021 numbers

Jena Griswold said variables such as particular ballot issues (i.e., Prop HH) may resonate with voters and can dictate turnout
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks in October 2020 during a news conference about the state's efforts to protect the process of casting a vote in the general election in downtown Denver. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press file)

In an interview Monday, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold told The Durango Herald that her office expects an influx of ballots as Election Day draws near.

“We are actually trending higher statewide than both the 2019 and 2021 coordinated elections. There tends to always be a big push toward the very end,” Griswold said, adding she dropped off her ballot about 20 minutes prior to the interview. “There was a steady flow of cars going to that drop box (when I voted), and I think we’ll just see the number continue to increase rapidly.”

As of 11:30 p.m. Sunday, 830,599 of the more than 3.927 million active voters in the state (or about 21.1% of active voters) cast their ballots for 2023, according to data from the Secretary of State’s Office.

As of that same time frame, 9,504 of La Plata County’s 42,597 active voters (or about 22.3%) have cast their ballots. Of that total number of active voters, 10,329 are registered democrats and 9,798 are registered republicans. There are also 21,635 unaffiliated voters.

In Montezuma County, 4,271 ballots had been returned, a turnout of 21.8% of the county’s 19,582 active voters. Of that total number of active voters, 3,171 are registered Democrats, 7,430 are registered Republicans and 8,629 are Unaffiliated voters.

Griswold said she expects 2023 turnout numbers to be similar to 2019 and 2021, if not slightly higher.

Although the Secretary of State’s Office did not have data on 2019 voting in La Plata County available, 18,051 of the county’s active voters (or 42.5%) cast their ballots in 2021. Statewide, Colorado saw 44.02% and 40.03% turnout in 2019 and 2021, respectively, according to the data.

She touted increased voting access in the state since 2019, saying the number of drop boxes has increased 65% and there are more features like in-person voting and automatic voter registration.

Griswold said she also worked with tribes in and near La Plata County to guarantee things like ballot drop box access on tribal lands. She also said such efforts are part of the state’s work in recognizing how Native American communities have historically suffered from voter suppression.

“I think any time there’s access and we make it easier for people to vote, turnout will be higher. At the same time, we’ve added a lot more people to the voter rolls over the last five years,” Griswold said.

Griswold said variables such as particular ballot issues (i.e., Proposition HH) may resonate with voters and can dictate turnout.


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