Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Tuesday’s election turnout was the largest for a nonpresidential 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 reference 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 in 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; 565,800 were cast in the Republican Party’s primary, which did not include a U.S. Senate race.
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 recorder, applauded his jurisdiction’s 48% turnout rate with no wait times for in-person voters on Tuesday. He attributed the smooth administration to only 0.5% of voters casting 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."
In El Paso County, a total of 157,204 votes were cast, 45% of active voters, as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. Teller County saw a total of 8,487 votes, 48.6% of active voters.
El Paso County officials say all votes should be counted by late Wednesday night with the exception of military and overseas votes which are due July 8.
Teller County officials say they will have all votes counted, including military and overseas, by July 9.