Last year, Colorado held its first general election since passing a 2013 law that required the state to mail ballots to all registered voters. Although ballots were sent out, voters were not required to vote by mail. In-person voting was still permitted on or before Election Day at Voter Service and Polling Centers. In addition to returning their ballots at these sites, voters were also able to vote in person (by surrendering their ballot) and to register or update their registration and then cast a ballot.
While the majority of voters in Denver County did use their mail ballots, 72% chose to drop off their ballot, rather than return it via the Postal Service.
Previously, Colorado had a high number of provisional ballots, which require extra time to process, delaying the final count and election certification. The state’s revised process (including same-day registration) gave voters a wider range of options and reduced the Election Day burden of elections officials.
3.28% of ballots were cast provisionally in Denver in 2010. But in 2014, that dropped to just .08%–only 178 ballots.
These developments can help explain how Colorado rose from 9th place in voter turnout in 2010 to 3rd place in 2014 with turnout of 54.5%. Learn more about voter turnout in last year’s midterm by reading America Goes to the Polls 2014.