Colorado’s record-breaking state primary proves vote-by-mail model is successful

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“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado just set a record turnout for a state primary. A total of 99.3% of voters cast a mail ballot, and there were not lengthy lines or wait times reported at in-person voting centers,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “Despite misleading attacks, disinformation, and attempts to make vote-by-mail a partisan issue, Colorado’s election proves that mail ballots are the key to accessible voting during this health crisis.”

Colorado’s primary also shows both Democrats and Republicans enthusiastically embracing vote-by-mail, with 918,374 ballots returned for the Democratic Primary and 565,805 returned for the Republican Primary.  Within each party’s primary, 99.4% of voters who participated in the Republican Primary returned their ballot by mail while 99.2% of voters who participated in the Democratic Primary did the same.

Turnout has far surpassed that of the 2018 state primary, in which 1,171,088 ballots were counted.  In March’s Presidential Primary, which was the first Presidential Primary in 20 years and the first-ever in which unaffiliated voters could receive a mail ballot, a total of 1,806,288 ballots were counted.  Like in the 2020 State Primary, most voters in those primaries preferred to vote by mail, with mail ballots respectively accounting for 98.8% and 97.5% of ballots returned. 

While Colorado has had a mail ballot model since 2013, the importance of voting by mail increased exponentially over the last three months. Voting by mail is the safest way to conduct an election during the COVID-19 health crisis because it encourages social distancing.  

Colorado’s elections are the country’s gold standard, and Colorado will continue to work with other states to help expand mail ballots nationally. Mail ballots are the best way to vote during this pandemic.

Colorado’s 2020 State Primary record turnout will continue to increase as ballots are processed over the next eight days. Military and overseas ballots cast by 7 p.m. on Election Day will be counted up to July 8 when preliminary results will be finalized and the state’s Risk Limiting Audit will be conducted on July 10.  All results will be official three weeks after the election.

PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times