PRIMARY 2020 | Turnout highest ever for non-presidential primary election in Colorado


Secretary of State Jena Griswold deemed Tuesday’s election turnout the largest for a non-presidential primary in Colorado’s history, with more than 1.57 million people casting ballots, representing 45% of active voters.

"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,” Griswold said. “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.”

Her allusion was likely to comments President Donald Trump has made in recent months alleging that mail ballots lead to “rigged” elections. As recently as Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Mail-In Voting, on the other hand, will lead to the most corrupt Election is USA history.” He referenced 19% of mail ballots being rejected in a recent election in Paterson, N.J., in which two local officials were charged with fraud. However, NPR reported that in this election, the first to be entirely by mail in New Jersey, not all rejected ballots were likely fraudulent.

In Colorado, more than 918,000 ballots were cast in the Democratic Party’s primary, compared to 565,800 in the Republican Party’s. Turnout in the 2018 primary election, when all statewide executive offices were on the ballot, was just under 1.2 million. The presidential primary, which Colorado reinstated for the first time in decades this March, saw 1.8 million total ballots.

Griswold’s numbers were current as of 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and will increase as processing occurs.

George Stern, the Jefferson County Clerk and Record, applauded his jurisdiction’s 48% turnout rate with no wait times for in-person voters on Election Day. He attributed the smooth administration to the fact that only 0.5% of voters cast ballots in person.

“High turnout, no lines, fast processing, great security, and now we've confirmed — pandemic proof,” he wrote in an email Wednesday. “Colorado has the answer to elections."

This story is from Colorado Politics, a statewide political and public policy news journal. Used by permission. For more, visit


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