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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 11, 20172min1263

Noteworthy on Lynn Bartels’s blog last week: a piece by her fellow Secretary of State’s Office staffer, Julia Sunny, on a visit from an Alaskan delegation studying Colorado’s success with mail ballots. Alaska is considering a move to all-mail balloting, Sunny reports.

Included was this nugget:

Colorado is one of the top five states in the country for voter turnout, due in part to its mail-ballot system for elections.

…And this:

Secretary (of State Wayne) Williams, Colorado elections director Judd Choate, and county support manager Dwight Shellman, sat down with the Alaskan officials to discuss Colorado elections’ processes and what Colorado does to maintain the integrity of elections.

Shellman explained the innovative risk-limiting audits system Colorado will utilize in the next election. Colorado is the first state to implement statewide RLAs to elections, a new and better type of post-election audit.

Taken together, they could provide reassurance in the face of periodic concerns over voter participation as well as ballot security in the Centennial State. The misgivings come from across the political spectrum — typically around election time, of course — and range from worries that voter registration procedures could disfranchise some segments of the community, to concerns that mail ballots could compromise election integrity.

Sunny’s report reminds us Colorado’s election system is viewed as a template for other states. We must be doing something right.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 15, 20174min1772

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.