Colorado again in top 5 in presidential voter turnout.

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News Release


                                                                          MEDIA CONTACT: (303) 860-6903

                                                                                      Lynn Bartels


Three-peat: Colorado scores high voter turnout in another presidential election


DENVER, March 16, 2017 – Colorado continues to rank among an “elite” group of states with a high voter turnout, according to a report released today on the 2016 election.

It is the third straight presidential election where Colorado has ranked in the top five states in terms of turnout.

Colorado in 2016 had the fourth highest turnout (72.1%) -- behind Minnesota (74.8%), Maine (72.8%) and New Hampshire (72.5%). Wisconsin (70.5%) came in fifth.

Colorado’s status as a battleground state and citizens’ direct participation in decision making is key to its ranking, said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Colorado allows citizens and governments to put measures on the ballot and citizens must approve all new taxes. Voters in 2016, for example, rejected tripling the state income tax to fund health insurance, rejected a tax hike on tobacco products and approved a medical-aid-in-dying law. In 2012, Coloradans legalized recreational marijuana.

“Being a battleground state always helps, of course, but that’s not enough,” Williams said. “Colorado's trust in the people and our policies and practices also drive up turnout."

He also pointed out that Colorado has the highest percentage of eligible voters, and the state's "commitment to registering voters makes this possible.”

Colorado’s 72.1% ranking crushes the national turnout of eligible voters, which was 60.2%.

“Colorado is really in an elite group of the top five states,” said George Pillsbury, senior consultant for Nonprofit VOTE and the author of “America Goes to the Polls,” a joint effort between Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project. The report is available at

"It really shows what’s possible if the state enacts policies that help promote voter participation, as well as develop a strong civic culture of encouraging voter turnout,” Pillsbury said.

Colorado lawmakers in 2013 passed an election overhaul bill that eliminated neighborhood polling places and created same-day voter registration and all-mail balloting, although each county is required to open a certain number of in-person vote centers two weeks before an election. Prior to the changes, Colorado ranked third nationally in turnout.