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    DENVER, Colorado – Only about 13 percent of voting-age eligible Coloradans bothered to cast a vote in Tuesday’s primary election, figures, show, continuing the pattern of miserably low turnout.

“Pouring $1 million down the drain would have been a lot easier – and not nearly as destructive,” Ryan Ross, the director of a Coalition for a new election system, said. “Many college student-government elections get better turnout.”

Of the state’s 4.8 million residents age 18 or older, about 605,000 cats ballots in Tuesday’s primary. Ross said the low turnout is the lowest primary elections turnout in Colorado since 2008, and barely above the 11 percent average turnout for primary elections during the Aughts.

One reason for the low turnout is that independents can’t vote unless they declare themselves on election day to be a member of a party. Another is that there were precious few contested primaries. Of the 101 federal and state offices up for election this year, there were contested primaries in only 22 of them.  

The turnout reinforces the Coalition’s recommendation that the first stage of the state’s two-stage election system be open to any voter, and that all voters should be allowed to cast ballots for any candidate on the ballot in their district, regardless of their – or the candidate’s - party affiliation.

The Coalition is circulating petitions to place on the fall ballot an Initiative to accomplish just that. It would result in the election of a new generation of candidates committed as never before to bridge-building and problem solving.

Ryan Ross/Director
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