The wealthy executive who championed a ballot measure to let unaffiliated voters cast ballots in Colorado primaries is urging state Republicans to defeat a proposal to scrap next year's primary election and instead nominate candidates at party assemblies.
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:
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.
Colorado Republicans will decide in September whether to cancel next year’s primary election rather than allow unaffiliated voters to participate, party officials said this week, although the state GOP chairman says he’s confident the proposal will go down in flames.
Democratic Secretary of State candidate Jena Griswold blasted Republican incumbent Wayne Williams on Friday for agreeing to go along with a White House election commission's request for voter data even as privacy advocates challenged its legality and thousands of Colorado voters were canceling their registrations. But a spokeswoman for Williams said the secretary has simply been following the law by treating the state's voter rolls as public records.
Declaring she will "stand up against the Trump Administration, and protect Coloradans’ right to vote," Democrat Jena Griswold on Wednesday launched her campaign for Colorado secretary of state with attacks on a White House commission devoted to examining voter fraud.
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat, on Tuesday tore into the White House election commission that asked last week for detailed voter registration data from all 50 states, saying the request "raises serious privacy concerns" and could dampen voter participation.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Thursday he plans to fulfill a White House commission's request for detailed state voter data by providing the same publicly available information that would be available to anyone who asks but will hold back certain data considered confidential.