National group tries to boost voter registrations

A national group that advocates for more voter participation regardless of political affiliation is coming to Colorado.

This month that group, the Washington, D.C.-based Voter Participation Center, is mailing out more than 2.8 million voter registration applications to unregistered voters in nine states, including Colorado.

Of those applications, 97,209 are to go to Colorado residents, who make up about 25 percent of eligible voters in the state who aren’t already registered.

“Nationally, about 46 million people of color, unmarried women and millennials are not currently registered to vote,” said Page Gardner, founder and president of the center. “In Colorado, nearly 670,000 of these historically under-represented citizens are unregistered. We are making registration more efficient and effective, so the voices of African-Americans, Latinos, unmarried women and young voters will be heard at the voting booth next year.”

In July, the center released a study showing that voters in those categories make up nearly 60 percent of eligible voters nationwide, but only 35 percent of them (31 percent in Colorado) were expected to vote in next year’s midterm races.

The study also showed that millennials lead the pack in not voting, with more than half of them not casting ballots during last year’s national elections.

This month’s voter registration drive is designed to help reverse that.

“It is critical that our democracy is reflective of the diverse people who live in our nation, and our goal at the Voter Participation Center is to make registration and voting fair, simple and easy for all Americans,” Gardner said. “The September mailing is just one step in the right direction.”

Once the applications go to an unregistered voter over the next week, the center won’t see them again. Those voters who fill them out send them directly to state elections officials.

According to the voter registrations numbers reported by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, as of Friday there are 3.35 million registered voters in Colorado. Of those, 1.5 million are Democrats, 1.4 million are Republicans and 1.2 million are unaffiliated.

By this same time last year, there were 3.1 million registered voters in the state. During last year’s general election, 85 percent of active voters had cast a ballot.


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