Nov 29, 2022 - News

Colorado voter turnout dips in 2022 midterm, initial numbers show

Voter turnout in Colorado midterm elections
Data: US Elections Project; Note: 2022 general election turnout data is preliminary, as of Nov. 23, 2022; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

Colorado no longer ranks at the top in the nation for voter turnout.

Driving the news: Turnout dipped to 58.5% of the voting-eligible population in the 2022 midterm election, a preliminary analysis by the U.S. Elections Project shows.

  • Colorado ranked sixth in the nation, behind Maine (61.4%), Minnesota (61%), Oregon (60.9%), Wisconsin (60.2%) and Michigan (59%).

Flashback: In 2020 and 2018, Colorado landed a close second behind Minnesota in terms of ballots cast. The prior midterm turnout hit 61.4%, the project's research shows.

Why it matters: Turnout is an important metric because it shows voter enthusiasm for the candidates and issues on the ballot, and serves as a measure to evaluate elected county clerks and the secretary of state who oversee voting.

  • Also, the number is often a point of pride among states.
  • If preliminary results hold, 2022's tally would mark the first decline in the state's midterm turnout in 20 years.

Between the lines: The denominator is important in this discussion. The Elections Project uses a voter-eligible population, calculated using census figures, rather than actual registered voters, which is what local officials compute.

  • The state also presents "active voters" — only those that receive mail ballots — which inflates the turnout rate.

By the numbers: Among the 4.4 million registered voters in Colorado, the turnout rate lands at a similar 58%, according to state figures.

  • An estimated 24,000 additional ballots were cast but rejected.
  • The largest voting bloc this year was women aged 55 to 64, followed by women aged 65 to 74 and men aged 55 to 64.
  • Small counties, many in the hotly contested 3rd Congressional District, led the state with turnout. Denver's turnout landed at 62%.

Of note: The candidate that received the most votes in the state is Democratic Gov. Jared Polis at 1,468,463 votes, or 58% support, unofficial state numbers show.

  • The highest Republican vote-getter on the midterm ballot was John Kellner in the attorney general race. He lost to Democratic incumbent Phil Weiser, but received 1,060,856 votes, or 43%.

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