Deadline is Monday to register to vote in general election
Those who want to vote in this year’s general election and haven’t registered have until Monday to do so.
As of Wednesday, there were 2.4 million active registered voters in Colorado, down about 800,000 from the 2008 general election.
Currently, registrations since the 2008 election are 312,931 fewer among unaffiliated voters, 256,966 among Democrats and 203,618 among Republicans.
Though it’s not unusual for voter interest to wane in non-presidential elections, the leaders of the two major parties were a bit surprised to hear their numbers were that far down.
Still, both have active campaigns to get voters registered, and hope to get even more by Monday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline.
“That does not sound good at all,” said Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party. “We’re basically putting out the word out in the communities that this is the last time to register. Otherwise, we’re working with the registered voters we have, and working on those crossover voters. We’re doing a lot of push with unaffiliated.”
Both Waak and Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams are expecting the unaffiliated voters to come their way on several races, particularly with the U.S. Senate race and various state House and Senate contests.
“We’ve been working with our county leadership on Republicans who have either moved into a new county and didn’t register to vote right away, or people new to Colorado who were registered Republicans in other states,” Wadhams said. “This state is very competitive. You’ve got to turn out your vote and identify the friendly unaffiliated voters and get them to the polls as well.”
Like the all-mail primary election in August, this year’s general election is unusual in that it’s the first year voters could request to always receive mail-in ballots.
As a result, about 59.5 percent of all voters already have asked for a mail-in ballot. A computerized breakout of those voters by party showed that no single ideology dominates: 63 percent of all Republicans, 62.5 percent of Democrats and 52.7 percent of unaffiliated Coloradans will vote by mail.
That’s an important point because about 80 percent of people who receive their ballots by mail actually cast them, Waak said. Normal voter turnout, particularly in a non-presidential election year, is generally well below that mark. “We’ve been pushing mail-in ballots a lot because it’s such an easy way for people to vote,” she said.
“We’re working on that as well,” Wadhams added. “We’re working to get Republicans to sign up for permanent absentee ballots because there is a higher likelihood of voting, especially those voters who don’t reliably vote every two years.”