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GREELEY — Although it was an off-year election without a president or a U.S. congressman on the ballot, more than half of Weld County’s 132,000 registered voters turned out Nov. 5 to cast …
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GREELEY — Although it was an off-year election without a president or a U.S. congressman on the ballot, more than half of Weld County’s 132,000 registered voters turned out Nov. 5 to cast their ballots.
Based on final unofficial results from Weld County, voter turnout this year was 50.08 percent, a climb over the turnout of the previous off-year, 2011, which was 42.48 percent.
This increase was shared with turnout trends for presidential and midterm elections during the last decade, but Weld County Clerk and Recorder Steve Moreno cautioned that many factors affect voter turnout trends.
“When we look at Weld County, my perspective and my staff’s perspective we also wonder what may have drawn the voters,” Moreno said. “In 2005, we were looking back, and there was a county-wide tax question that drove that number a little bit higher as opposed to 2009, when it dropped back down to 30 percent. Maybe the questions were not quite as controversial. Whereas this year, 2013, following the presidential election, we have two pretty high-advertised questions on the ballot.”
But for long-term trends of increasing turnout, Moreno says the introduction of mail-in options for voters played a key role.
“The evolution really started with the mail ballot,” Moreno said. “When I say evolution, I mean that the counties have been watching and monitoring what happened when legislation was passed, giving voters the option to sign up to become permanent mail-in voters, and we call them PMIV voters. Our database, before this house bill passed this year, we had over 71 percent PMIV. We have counties in the state of Colorado claiming they were in the 80s or 90s. So the evolution to mail ballot has been there and it’s more convenient now, and more citizens are taking advantage of that convenience.”
Moreno thanked Weld County’s election staff for their hard work to help make sure the election went smoothly.
“Every election is going to have its challenges. And obviously, there’s some challenges when voters turn in high volumes of ballots on election day,” Moreno said. “We actually had to get to the stopping point on election night. We had over 16,000-plus ballots dumped on us election day.”
Five-thousand ballots were left to count at the end of Tuesday night, but Moreno felt that the judges needed rest to conduct their oversight role properly.
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