Coloradans will be asked to restore presidential primary, open taxpayer-financed primaries to unaffiliated voters

Coloradans will be asked to restore presidential primary, open taxpayer-financed primaries to unaffiliated voters

Colorado voters will be asked this fall to re-institute a presidential primary and to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in taxpayer-financed primary elections without choosing a party.

The measures were approved for the ballot today by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office after verifying that enough voter signatures had been collected.

“Colorado voters value independence and want elections that encourage participation,” said Kent Thiry, Let Colorado Vote Campaign Chair and CEO of DaVita. “Only 5% of voters participated in the March caucuses, which is not a sign of a healthy democracy. Our initiatives will fix that and allow more than 1 million unaffiliated voters to participate in elections that they currently pay for, but thus far have been excluded from.”

The two measures would change state law (as opposed to amending the constitution):

  • Initiative 140, which will restore a presidential primary and allow unaffiliated voters to participate without affiliating with a party;
  • Initiative 98, which will allow the state’s more than 1 million unaffiliated voters to participate in taxpayer-financed primary elections without affiliating with a party. 

“We believe, strongly, that allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in taxpayer funded primary elections is a matter of fairness,” said John Hereford, Let Colorado Vote Vice Chair and founder of Oak Leaf Energy Partners. “Engaging a broader cross-section of the voting spectrum in primaries will make our politicians more responsive to the center and not just the extreme wings of their respective parties.”

Colorado leads the nation in the growth of unaffiliated – or independent – voters since 2008, and they now make up 36% of all voters in the state.

But unaffiliated voters in Colorado face barriers that don’t exist in most other states. Colorado is among a minority of states that excludes unaffiliated voters from taxpayer-financed primary elections, and history shows that this system discourages participation.

Turnout for Colorado’s primary elections has been dropping since 2010, and just 1 in 5 voters participated in the state’s June primary.

The current primary does not include the presidential race, which is handled through a caucus system with preference polls rather than official ballots. Fewer than 190,000 of the state’s 3 million voters participated in the March caucuses.

Other campaign Vice Chairs are: Kelly Brough, President/CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber; Don Childears, President/CEO of the Colorado Bankers Association; Cole Finegan, partner at Hogan Lovells US; and Mike Kopp, executive director of Colorado Concern.

Let Colorado Vote is supported by a diverse array of individuals and organizations, including: Gov. John Hickenlooper; former Govs. Bill Ritter, Bill Owens, Roy Romer and Dick Lamm; former U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Hank Brown; Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers; former Transportation Secretary Federico Peña; and civic and business groups, including: the Denver Metro Chamber, Colorado Concern, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Club 20, the Colorado Association of Realtors, the Colorado Contractors Association, the Metro Mayors Caucus, Progressive 15, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the Vail Valley Partnership.

For additional information, visit:

Isaac Slade at the Great Divide Brewery

Isaac Slade at the Great Divide Brewery

Isaac Slade for Let Colorado ote

Like Isaac Slade says: “The caucus system is old fashioned, and we have outgrown it, and we’re ready to join the national conversation for something better.”

What’s better than brews and great live music? We had both earlier this summer at a campaign fundraiser for Let Colorado Vote. Isaac Slade, lead singer of The Fray, headlined the event at the Great Divide Brewery in Denver, giving a wonderful intimate performance, including one song un-mic’d. The Denver native talked about why he loves Colorado and why he supports the Let Colorado Vote initiatives, which seek to increase participation in primary elections in Colorado. Thanks to the folks at Great Divide for hosting the event. We’ll be doing more to get the word out about the initiatives as we get closer to the election. See a video of Isaac on the Let Colorado Vote Facebook page and learn more about the campaign here.

Clinton holds 10-point lead over Trump among likely voters in new Colorado poll

Clinton holds 10-point lead over Trump among likely voters in new Colorado poll

Hillary Clinton holds a 10-point lead over Donald Trump among likely November 2016 Colorado voters, according to a Keating Research/OnSight Public Affairs presidential tracking poll released today.

In a matchup of the post-Super Tuesday front-runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations, Clinton leads Trump 49% to 39%, with 13% undecided.

“Clinton lost here last night, but moved closer to the nomination and is well-positioned with a 10-point lead in this swing state,” said Mike Melanson, founding partner of OnSight Public Affairs. “Looking at a November electorate, she consolidates the party base and picks up the other key categories needed to win.”

In a head-to-head matchup against Trump, the former Secretary of State receives support from nearly 9 in 10 Democrats. In addition, she has overwhelming support among the groups that are key to winning general elections in Colorado: Hispanics (+68% over Trump), voters ages 18-49 (+26% over Trump), and among women (+25% over Trump).

The statewide survey of 450 likely general-election voters was conducted Feb. 26-29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6%.*


“Younger Colorado voters may be ‘feeling the Bern’ now, but they’re clearly ready for Hillary in November,” said pollster Chris Keating. “In comparison, Trump has only lukewarm support (74%) among Colorado Republicans and is nowhere close to where he needs to be among other demographics.” (Read the polling memo.)

In swing-state Colorado, candidates routinely compete for the support of unaffiliated voters in November — a group that breaks Clinton’s way by a 16-point (51% to 35%) margin.

The candidates are statistically tied among older voters age 50+ (Trump 44% – Clinton 41%).

Support for action on Supreme Court

On another closely watched public-policy issue, a majority of respondents said the Supreme Court vacancy created following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia should be filled before the November election.

A majority (52%) of voters supported taking action now, vs. 37% who said the decision should be left to the next president. The majority comes with support from 75% of Democrats and 59% of unaffiliateds. Roughly two-thirds of Republicans (67%) say the appointment should come after a new president takes office.

Keating Research/OnSight Public Affairs was recognized by Democrats and Republicans alike as providing extremely accurate tracking polling during the 2012 presidential election.

*Numbers may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. 


The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

99% Invisible is a really fantastic podcast that focuses on design of all kinds — from the built-in sound effects on your mobile device to urban planning, almost everything gets designed at some point in its development. And those times when it doesn’t — when a lack of intentional design is the story — well, 99PI covers those examples, too.

Ballots are an essential component to a working democracy, yet they are rarely created (or even reviewed) by design professionals. (Text from 99% Invisible, photo via Wikimedia)

Last week, 99PI did a great piece on ballots, and this one definitely falls into the latter camp. Because of the history of election management in the US (a history the podcast briefly delves into), what we see when we go to cast our vote varies enormously from county to county across the country…and is almost always developed by someone who doesn’t have the tools to think about good design.

And this can have serious implications! From ballots printed in 6-point type ALL-CAPS typefaces to the infamous “butterfly ballot” that arguably changed the course of the 2000 presidential election, 99% Invisible makes the case that good design is ignored at our peril…in elections as in everything else our society takes on.

Colorado 3rd in voter turnout nationally

Colorado 3rd in voter turnout nationally

Sure, Colorado tops other states when it comes to natural beauty, craft beer, hiking and biking trails, and oh so much more, but now, our voters are outpacing most other states too. In last year’s midterm elections, Colorado had the 3rd highest voter turnout. Our county clerks and elections staffers deserve major kudos for helping facilitate such a feat of democracy.

Colorado voter turnout 3rd in nation – Durango Herald

Colorado had the third-highest voter turnout in the nation in November’s midterm election, according to a report released this week. Voter turnout in the state reached 54.5 percent of the eligible voting-age population, trailing only Maine, with 58.5 percent turnout, and Wisconsin, with 56.9 percent turnout. The report was released Wednesday by the group Nonprofit Vote. Tiffany Parker, La Plata County clerk and recorder, said voting reforms passed in 2013 along with tightly fought races helped drive voters to cast ballots last year. The state Legislature authorized mail voting statewide and same-day registration. Voters were able to correct outdated or incorrect information on their voting profiles right up to Election Day.