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A surge in unaffiliated voters helps set a new record for Colorado

Author: Dan Njegomir - August 15, 2017 - Updated: August 24, 2017

businessmen-putting-papers-in-the-ballot-box-vector-id590583530-1024x768.jpg

iStock image / siraanamwong

 

For all you hand-wringers fretting over the purportedly fragile state of our democracy — worrying that voters are turning away from politics out of frustration, disgust, apathy or, most recently, out of fear their personal voter data will be shared with the feds — Colorado has a tonic for you:

Voter registration just hit a record high, the Secretary of State’s Office announced Monday.

As a press release from the office noted, the milestone comes despite, “the recently publicized voter withdrawals.” Meaning, of course, the reaction by largely Democratic voters to requests by the Republican Trump administration’s “election integrity” commission for information on each state’s voter rolls.

By the numbers: 25,039 new or returning voters have registered since June 28, bringing the total to 3,737,569 Coloradans who stand ready to participate in democracy. That’s the highest number of voters ever for the state.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams was quoted in the press release: “I am pleased that Coloradans are engaged and I hope that citizens continue to register to vote using the many tools my office provides.”

Now, here’s the most interesting part: How that infusion of 25,000-plus voters breaks down by party. It wasn’t in the press release, but the office’s Julia Sunny tracked it down for us (thanks, Julia!), and look who accounted for more than half of the total increase:

(sos.state.co.us)

It wasn’t Dems defying Donald Trump or Republicans standing by their man; it was that growing group of voters who continue to comprise the plurality of Colorado’s electorate: unaffiliateds. Unaffiliated voters’ growth outpaced that of either major party by more than 2 to 1.

And, really, what does it mean? We’ll step aside for the moment and defer to the pundits on this much-discussed trend — other than to offer this trite-but-true-ism: Politicians of the two major parties cannot afford to ignore the unaffiliated voter.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.


2 comments

  • SG

    August 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I was hoping to get clarification on the difference in numbers reported by the secretary of state, and the number in the image. The Secretary of State’s office reported 25,039 new or re-registered voters while the image shows 25,862. Is there a reason the numbers are different?

  • Jason

    August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Do you have numbers on registration growth rate?

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