Colorado’s presidential primary spiked turnout 15-fold, but didn’t meet the full promise of Prop. 107
Four years ago, after the Colorado caucuses shut out millions from voting in the presidential primaries, a coalition of political centrists put forward a new idea: Let the more than 1 million unaffiliated voters help pick the party nominees for the White House and make it a primary to boost turnout within the Democratic and Republican ranks.
The two major political parties objected. The state’s top lawmakers even rewrote the official voter guide to make it less appealing and deleted a line saying it would increase voter turnout. It didn’t matter. Proposition 107 won voter approval by a wide margin in 2016.
On Tuesday, Colorado held a presidential primary for the first time in two decades, and the inaugural one with mail ballots and unaffiliated voters. In the end, it increased voter turnout — a lot.
The preliminary election results show that nearly 1.8 million people — or 46% — voted in Colorado. It represents a nearly 15-fold increase from 2016, when an estimated 122,000 Democrats attended caucuses and Republicans canceled their presidential vote.
The supporters behind the “Let Colorado Vote” initiative celebrated this week as a late-surge in ballots boosted turnout to historic levels. “I’m just very excited to see that we created a mandatory vehicle that allows all voters in Colorado to have more of a voice, I just think that’s a great thing in Colorado,” former DaVita CEO Kent Thiry, the measure’s leading supporter, said in an interview after polls closed.
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