• July 24th, 2024
  • Wednesday, 09:46:16 PM

Colorado Primary Election Turnout Lowest in Years

An election worker sorts ballots at the Weld County Elections office in Greeley on June 25, 2024. (Photo:Andrew Fraieli/Colorado Newsline)


By Sara Wilson



Last week’s primary election in Colorado saw the lowest voter turnout for that type of election since 2016, unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office show.


As of June 30, five days after the election, the office had recorded a bit over 1 million returned ballots. That accounts for about 26% of active registered voters in the state.


Turnout was about 32% in 2022, 45% in 2020, 35% in 2018 and 21% in 2016.


Despite it being a presidential election year, many voters in the state only saw one contested statewide seat on their ballot. That was for the Democratic race for a seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. Depending on where they live, a voter might not have seen any contested primaries for statehouse seats or local county races.


There were hot primaries, however, in some of the congressional races including the Republican contests in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Congressional Districts.


There were about 20,000 more Democratic primary ballots returned than Republican ballots. Unaffiliated voters, who can decide which party’s primary to vote in, were more likely to return a Democratic ballot. Unaffiliated voters made up about 36% of the total turnout.


Female voters returned more Democratic ballots than Republican ones, while the opposite was true for male voters.


The largest ballot returns was among voters aged 65 and older, as is typical.


New Era Colorado, a youth organizing nonprofit, touted its efforts through a new independent expenditure committee called Young People for All People, which targeted young voters in three state legislative districts — House District 4, House District 52 and Senate District 19. Of the voters aged 18 to 34 the committee contacted, 25% turned out to vote, the organization said in a press release. That is compared to an 8% turnout rate for the same age group statewide.


“A theme throughout our conversations with young voters (and made clear through statewide turnout results) is that (young people) feel like mainstream politicians only pretend to care about our issues during an election cycle, the system is rigged for those with the biggest budgets, and their vote doesn’t matter. But our votes and our work do make a difference,” Christina Soliz, New Era’s deputy director, said in a statement.


Overall voter turnout was slightly better in the 4th Congressional District, where voters chose a replacement for former Rep. Ken Buck and nominees for both parties. That district, which includes Douglas County and the Eastern Plains, saw a turnout of slightly more than 33%.



Sara Wilson is a Reporter with Colorado Newsline. This article is republished from Colorado Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.