Election updates: Images from Nov. 3; Biden ahead 13 points in Colorado

Hundreds of newly arrived ballots sit in a bag at the Jefferson County elections office on Oct. 21, 2020. (Eli Imadali for Colorado Newsline)

Newsline staff is providing updates and information on the races, ballot measures and other news related to the Nov. 3, 2020, election in Colorado.

The Colorado ballot includes races for president, one U.S. Senate seat, all seven U.S. House seats, 18 of the state Senate’s 35 seats, all 65 of the state House seats, all 22 of the state’s district attorney offices, 11 statewide ballot measures, and other items, including University of Colorado regent, state Board of Education and RTD board races.

The election in charts

Mail ballots were sent to all registered voters in Colorado starting Oct. 9. They were advised to return ballots by Oct. 26 if they sent them through the mail. Otherwise voters can hand-deliver ballots at a drop-off site and vote in person up to 7 p.m. on Election Day. They may also register to vote up to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Live Feed

3 weeks ago

5:01 pm

Colorado 2020 election in photos

By: Newsline staff

Newsline staff, with the help of freelance photojournalists Carl Payne in the Denver area and Barton Glasser in Mesa County, captured the Nov. 3 election in images.

Colorado 2020 election in photos

3 weeks ago

4:57 pm

4 takeaways from preliminary election results in Colorado

By: Newsline staff

Reporter Chase Woodruff in this story discusses four key takeaways from the Tuesday election:

  • Colorado’s deep blue hue
  • Democrats increasingly dominant in the suburbs
  • Two paths forward for Republicans
  • Voters tighten the state’s fiscal knot

4 takeaways from preliminary election results in Colorado

3 weeks ago

4:52 pm

Colorado effort to ban abortions at 22 weeks fails

By: Newsline staff

Coloradans voted down a statewide ballot measure that would have banned abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases in which an abortion is “immediately required” to save the life of the mother. Read reporter Moe Clark’s story:

Colorado effort to ban abortions at 22 weeks fails

3 weeks ago

10:16 am

Colorado passed Prop 118. Here’s when and how workers can take paid family and medical leave.

By: Faith Miller

Colorado voters on Nov. 3 approved Proposition 118, establishing a wide-ranging insurance program covering paid family and medical leave for workers. But don’t expect your paycheck to take a hit — or count on the new benefits — for another couple of years.

Allowing time for the state to recover from a coronavirus-induced economic downturn, the measure delays mandatory premiums for most employers until 2023 and benefits till the following year.

The ballot measure had garnered 57.2% of votes counted by 10 p.m. Nov. 4, according to unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office.

“This is a victory for hard-working families across our state in a moment when so many are struggling to balance family, paying the bills and keeping our community safe,” Ashley Panelli, co-chair of the Colorado Families First campaign for paid family and medical leave, said in a statement shortly after the Associated Press called the race Nov. 3.

Read more about Proposition 118 here.

3 weeks ago

10:30 pm

Post-election unrest erupts as left-wing demonstrators march in Denver

By: Newsline staff

Newsline was on the ground as a crowd of hundreds marched through the streets of Denver on Wednesday night in an event billed by organizers as a protest to “stop a fascist coup,” which ended in a cloud of tear gas, sporadic acts of vandalism and several arrests made by police. Read Chase Woodruff’s report:

Post-election unrest erupts as left-wing demonstrators march in Denver

Last updated:5:05 pm

3 weeks ago

8:30 am

Boebert to be next U.S. representative from Colorado’s 3rd District

By: Newsline staff

Lauren Boebert, the 33-year-old gun-packing restaurateur from Rifle, is heading to Congress.

The Republican and her Democratic opponent, Diane Mitsch Bush, were running in the most competitive of Colorado’s seven House races — it was the only one that did not feature an incumbent — and it wasn’t until late Tuesday that the result in the 3rd District became clear. Mitsch Bush, a former Routt County commissioner and member of the Colorado House, released a statement shortly after midnight.

“The voters have spoken. I did not get enough votes to win,” she said.

Boebert had already declared victory.

“Freedom wins!” she tweeted at 11:44 p.m. Tuesday. “This is a great victory for freedom and prosperity.”

As of Wednesday morning, unofficial results had Boebert with 51.09% of the vote to Mitsch Bush’s 45.66%.

Boebert’s national profile goes back at least to 2014, when her restaurant, Shooters Grill, was featured in a Fox News story about how she and staff carried guns openly as they served customers. She made national news in September 2019 when at a rally for presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke she told the Democrat, “Hell, no, you won’t take our guns.” She defeated five-term Rep. Scott Tipton in the June 30 primary, an upset that drew the attention of political observers throughout the country.

Support for the Second Amendment and the agenda of President Trump were the two prominent themes of Boebert’s campaign.

3 weeks ago

11:30 pm

Lauren Boebert holds lead over Diana Mitsch Bush, but race still too close to call

By: Moe Clark

Lauren Boebert, Republican candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, speaks to supporters and the press during a MAGA meet up with the Trump Victory Team at the Old Mesa County Courthouse in Grand Junction, Oct. 8, 2020. (Barton Glasser for Colorado Newsline)

The race for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District remained too close to call as of 11:20 p.m. Tuesday.

With 89% of votes counted, Republican candidate Lauren Boebert had a slight lead over Democratic candidate Diana Mitsch Bush with 51.1% of the votes. The Associated Press has yet to call the race.

Whoever wins will become the first woman to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers more than half of Colorado’s geographic landscape and includes cities such as Grand Junction, Durango, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Pueblo. 

Jeason Brown, left, and Bryson Sheppard waive banners supporting President Donald Trump on First Street in Grand Junction on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Barton Glasser for Colorado Newsline)

Boebert, who owns the Shooters Grill in Rifle, made national headlines after defeating five-term political incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the June primary, a win that drew the attention of political observers throughout the country. 

In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday night, Boebert can be heard celebrating with her campaign inside her closed restaurant.

“We did it!” Boebert is heard saying through the closed door. “This is going to be such an amazing journey and amazing ride fighting for freedom, standing with you, serving you. I can’t wait to see what we are going to do right here on the Western Slope of Colorado.”

Last updated:12:06 am

3 weeks ago

11:03 pm

Proposition 118 passes, creating universal paid-leave program after years-long fight

By: Chase Woodruff

Colorado voters on Tuesday accomplished what Democratic lawmakers spent nearly a decade trying and failing to do, approving the creation of a new state-administered insurance program that will offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave to all Colorado workers.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m., the Associated Press projected that voters had passed Proposition 118, placed on Colorado’s 2020 ballot through a signature-gathering campaign backed by progressive groups earlier this year. With more than 2.7 million ballots cast, the measure leads with 57% of the vote.

Passage of the paid-leave measure follows repeated failures by Democrats at the State Capitol to pass a similar program via legislation. As established by Proposition 118, the program will be funded through a new 0.9% payroll premium split between employers and employees. Workers would be entitled to paid-leave benefits of up to $1,100 per week for up to 12 weeks, for a variety of reasons including the birth of a child and caring for themselves or a family member with a serious medical condition.

3 weeks ago

10:57 pm

Voter turnout tops 77% in Arapahoe County

By: Faith Miller

Arapahoe County ballot sorting
Election workers process ballots at the Arapahoe County Elections Facility in Littleton. (Carl Payne for Colorado Newsline)

Arapahoe County voters turned out in high numbers to vote early for the Nov. 3 election, officials there said after polls closed.

As of 10:05 p.m., 77.5% of active, registered voters in the county had cast ballots, according to unofficial results from the Arapahoe County Elections Division. Much of that was probably due to early voting, county officials said.

“I think it has a lot to do with the pandemic,” said Joan Lopez, Arapahoe County clerk and recorder. “It has a lot to do with our messaging: ‘Be safe, be confident, be heard.'”

By 6:40 p.m. — 20 minutes before polls closed — no one was in line to vote at one of the county’s larger polling centers, Arapahoe County CentrePoint Plaza, a spokesperson for the county elections division said.

Arapahoe County ballot processing
Election workers process ballots at the Arapahoe County Elections Facility in Littleton. (Carl Payne for Colorado Newsline)

In 2016, Arapahoe County voter turnout once results were certified amounted to 73.9% of all registered voters and 83.6% of active, registered voters in the county.

This year, thousands of ballots still need to be counted — even after election workers leave the ballot processing facility in Littleton for the night. (They’ll return tomorrow morning.) Because Colorado voters can drop off their ballot in any county, and have it returned to the elections office of the county where they reside, there are ballots that will need to be “swapped” between Arapahoe County and others tomorrow.

Arapahoe County and other counties in the metro area often have to swap ballots a few times, since many people work and drop off ballots in different counties from where they live, said Peg Perl, the county’s elections director.

“I have all along be preparing for an 85% turnout in terms of our planning, and it looks like we might get there,” Perl said.

Statewide turnout as of 5 p.m. Nov. 3 was already at over 82% of active voters.

In Arapahoe County, bipartisan teams of election officials were sent to retrieve ballots from drop boxes and polling centers across the county at 7 p.m. and taken to the Littleton warehouse.

Next, the ballots go through a sorting machine, which will take a picture of the signature on the outside of the ballot, and then go into signature verification rooms, Perl explained. Signature verification judges — “which again work in bipartisan teams,” she noted — try to match those signatures with voters’ previous signatures on voter registration forms and in past elections. Voters are then notified about any signature discrepancies and have eight days to cure the issue with county elections staff.

3 weeks ago

10:39 pm

Gallagher Amendment repealed, altering local governments’ tax formulas

By: Chase Woodruff

Coloradans have voted to repeal a decades-old constitutional provision requiring local property tax rates to adhere to a certain formula, according to the Associated Press.

Supporters say that the passage of Amendment B, which repeals the “Gallagher Amendment” in Colorado’s state constitution, will help relieve budgetary pressure on local governments that have struggled to fund critical services like fire departments and public education.

“Tonight, our teachers, critical-service providers and the Coloradans who rely upon them can rest easy knowing that Coloradans came together to support them and thwart the cuts that the outdated Gallagher Amendment promised to deliver,” campaign co-chair Joe Zimlich said in a statement.

Enacted in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment required that the taxable value of residential property make up a fixed 45% of total statewide property taxes. Because home prices have risen faster than the value of other kinds of property since its passage, the amendment has caused tax rates on residential property to continually decline, while many local governments have passed laws that trigger automatic tax hikes on nonresidential property to make up the difference.

With the Gallagher Amendment repealed, property tax assessment rates will be frozen at their current levels — 7.15% for residential property and 29% for nonresidential property.

3 weeks ago

9:40 pm

House in Colorado’s 6th District: Vote ‘did not come out the way we wanted’

By: Newsline staff

Steve House

Steve House, the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Colorado’s 6th District, told supporters that the “results did not come out the way we wanted,” according to a press release from the House campaign.

House had sought to unseat Democratic Rep. Jason Crow. He was running to reclaim the 6th District for Republicans, who held the seat since its creation in 1983 until Crow won it in 2018.

“The race itself gave us a chance to really get to know people in the district and we were able to define solutions that will be good for the people who live here,”  House said. “I will continue to work in the district with the people I met because they deserve better opportunities for themselves and their children.”

House is a former chairman and CEO of the state Republican Party, and he ran for governor in 2014.

3 weeks ago

9:34 pm

Proposition EE passes, raising taxes on tobacco, vaping products

By: Chase Woodruff

Colorado voters have approved Proposition EE, a ballot measure seeking to raise taxes on tobacco products and create new taxes on vaping products, according to the Associated Press. The measure led with nearly 69% of the vote as of 9:30 p.m., according to unofficial results from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

Proposition EE was referred to the ballot as part of a deal brokered by Gov. Jared Polis in the final days of the 2020 legislative session, and the projected $176 million it would raise in annual revenue is expected to help fund universal preschool for Colorado 4-year-olds, one of Polis’ top education-policy priorities.

The tax measure was opposed by an issue committee funded almost entirely by Liggett Vector Brands, a discount cigarette manufacture which alleges that a minimum-price provision contained in the measure will unfairly advantage premium cigarette brands sold by tobacco giant Altria.

Under the measure, the tax paid on a pack of cigarettes would increase from $0.84 to $1.94 beginning next year, and gradually rise to $2.64 by 2027. Taxes on tobacco and vaping products would both gradually increase to 62% by 2027.

3 weeks ago

8:58 pm

STORY: John Hickenlooper defeats Cory Gardner in landslide for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat

By: Newsline staff

Newsline’s Moe Clark reports on former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s win over incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner for Colorado’s open U.S. Senate seat.

John Hickenlooper defeats Cory Gardner in landslide for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat

3 weeks ago

8:23 pm

John Hickenlooper wins Senate bid, defeating incumbent Cory Gardner

By: Moe Clark

With 69% of votes counted, the Associated Press named former Gov. John Hickenlooper as the winner of Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat.

As of 7:45 p.m., Hickenlooper had received 55.6% of the votes, and Gardner received 42.4%.

3 weeks ago

7:51 pm

Presidential candidate Joe Biden projected to win Colorado

By: Moe Clark

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at Wilson High School on Oct. 26, 2019, in Florence, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is Colorado’s guy.

The Associated Press projected a win for Biden in Colorado with only 40 minutes after polls closed in the state. With 68% of votes counted, Biden received 57.7% of the votes, while Trump receive 40%.

Voter turnout in Colorado smashed records this year. As of 5 p.m., 3,145,626 ballots were returned, surpassing the 2016 total state turnout of 2,855,257.

3 weeks ago

7:38 pm

Here’s where Sen. Cory Gardner and former Gov. John Hickenlooper were today

By: Moe Clark

 

Sent. Cory Gardner, left, and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, right.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner visited a handful of places on Election Day. He visited Windsor with Rep. Ken Buck, who represents the 4th Congressional District, early in the day before making his way to Brighton and Castle Rock.

Gardner was also seen in Greeley early in the day, waving to passing by cars and encouraging people to get out and vote.

“We’ve got a lot of great opportunities to continue doing good work for the people of Colorado,” Gardner told CBS4. “Right here in Northern Colorado, working on oil and gas opportunities, more trade opportunities for agriculture and continuing to create jobs in rural areas for our state.”

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper didn’t appear to make any in-person visits, but joined a Colorado Democratic Party facebook live in the morning alongside a handful of elected officials, including Gov. Jared Polis.

“We know that our country is in crisis and the pandemic and the ensuing economic collapse has cost too many Coloradans too much,” Hickenlooper said during the live event.

“And for the wildfires we’ve seen this summer and fall, there’s a climate catastrophe on our doorstep,” he added. “Digging out of this mess is going to be a tall order. President Trump and his rubber stamp Republicans in the Congress really aren’t up to the challenge.”

3 weeks ago

6:31 pm

In Brighton an hour before polls close, voters waited just half an hour

By: Faith Miller

Outside Adams County Government Center, a voter service and polling center in Brighton, Merissa Uribe waited with granola bars and water bottles to hand them out to people voting in person.

“Right now, I’m feeling a little nervous,” she said. “I don’t know if who I voted for is going to win, and the country right now is really divided.”

Uribe, who’s lived in Colorado her life, said she placed her ballot in a drop box about a week ago but still wanted to hand out snacks “just because of it being divided, knowing that people were going to be here to vote — just to help, I think.”

“I think that our system is exceptionally great to get our ballots early and be able to do the research that we need at home,” she added.

Two people leaving the polling center around 6 p.m. said they had waited about half an hour to vote in person.

“Since it’s a right and I think a responsibility, I like doing it in person,” Alison Graves said of voting.

Graves wasn’t particularly concerned about voting during the pandemic, she said: “Everybody was being respectful of each other’s space.”

Brittney Cooper said she votes in person because “it gives me more of a sense of satisfaction, voting in person and being at the polls on Election Day.”

“Even with the circumstances…it’s still a smooth process,” Cooper said.

3 weeks ago

6:16 pm

No police report filed for voter intimidation claim in Littleton

By: Moe Clark

No police report has been filed over a voter intimidation claim that occurred at a Littleton ballot drop box location on Monday.

Arapahoe County election officials called the police on two men, one of them armed, who were filming voters as they returned their ballots outside an Arapahoe County building.

“Nobody was arrested, and we didn’t end up taking a report on it,” said Trent Cooper, Littleton Police Department commander. “They were just videotaping people, they weren’t blocking the polls or talking to anybody or intimidating anyone. We certainly don’t like seeing people carrying firearms but it’s their right under Colorado Law.”

Because the incident occurred in front of a county building, it fell under the Arapahoe sheriff’s jurisdiction, Cooper said. After consulting with the county attorneys, officers concluded that the men had not crossed any lines and were exercising their first amendment rights. 

The two men posted a 42-minute video on YouTube of the event titled, “Polling place Karens get owned — Arapahoe County CO.”

Cooper, who referred to the men as First Amendment Auditors, said that they typically see people provoke these sorts of confrontations so they can sue the police department or city government for violating their rights.

“And so in this case, obviously under the context of it being voting and it’s a contentious election, we don’t necessarily appreciate these guys coming in and doing these kinds of things,” Cooper said. “But they’re within their rights to do so and it’s perfectly legal.” 

He said officers spoke to the two men to make sure they knew where they legally could and couldn’t be. “They were very agreeable to that,” Cooper said. “And that was kind of the end of it.”

Cooper said they haven’t received any other reports of potential voter intimidation. “We’ll see how the night goes and see what happens going into tomorrow,” he added. “But it’s been pretty quiet for us in that regard, thankfully.”

Last updated:6:41 pm

3 weeks ago

5:29 pm

Sen. Cory Gardner plans speech after polls close

By: Newsline staff

Sen. Cory Gardner plans to give a speech tonight, according to his campaign website.

A live broadcast is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Gardner, Colorado’s junior senator, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. He faces Democratic challenger former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper has enjoyed a comfortable lead in polls, and Democrats view Gardner’s as a crucial seat to flip in their effort to flip the Senate to Democratic control.

3 weeks ago

4:50 pm

Denver allows inmates to vote in person for the first time

By: Faith Miller

Denver jail voting
Isaiah Rodriguez, 19, right, prepares to place his ballot in a secure box as Juston Cooper, deputy director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, looks on, at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in Denver on Nov. 3, 2020. (Faith Miller/Colorado Newsline)

For the first time, people in jail at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center and Denver County Jail could vote in person this election season.

“I feel great,” said Isaiah Rodriguez, 19, who took advantage of the new program to vote in his first election. “I feel awesome. … It took time, but I’m glad that I put in my vote.”

As part of the Confined Voting Program — a partnership between the Denver Sheriff Department, Denver Elections Division, Denver League of Women Voters and Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition — temporary polling centers allowed inmates to cast ballots at the two jails.

In-person voting equipment was set up at the Denver County Jail only on Nov. 2 and Denver’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center on Nov. 3, but volunteers conducted voter registration drives multiple times this year at the jail to make sure inmates were prepared and educated about their ability to vote.

Read more about Denver’s Confined Voting Program here.

3 weeks ago

2:21 pm

Officials investigating Monday voter intimidation report in Littleton

By: Moe Clark

Local law enforcement and the Colorado attorney general’s office is investigating a report of potential voter intimidation that occurred at a Littleton drop box location on Monday.

Arapahoe County election officials on Monday called the police on two men, one of them armed, who were filming voters as they returned their ballots at a drop box located outside the main Arapahoe County building.

“We had some concerns from voters who felt unsafe and we had to involve law enforcement,” Peg Perl, Arapahoe County Elections Director told Colorado Public Radio. “They are now gone.”

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold mentioned the incident during a press conference on Tuesday morning. “You cannot impede someone from casting a ballot” by physical actions or otherwise, she said.

All ballot drop boxes in Colorado are under 24/7 camera surveillance.

Taken on their own, open carrying a weapon, wearing tactical gear or not wearing a mask might not qualify as intimidation, she explained. But all together there could be a circumstantial case that rises to voter intimidation.

“We did take this scenario from yesterday very seriously,” Griswold said during the press conference.

Though voter intimidation is illegal, Colorado state law does not prohibit weapons at polling places. In Denver, people are not allowed to open carry firearms.

Anyone who experiences voter intimidation should notify their county election official immediately. They can also file an election complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

3 weeks ago

2:18 pm

Colorado so far avoids major influence of election disinformation

By: Newsline staff

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks during a news briefing about the election on the morning of Nov. 3, 2020. (screenshot)

Colorado voters as of late Tuesday morning had not been subject to major instances of disinformation related to the election, according to Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

“Thankfully, there have not been a huge amount of disruptive disinformation,” Griswold said during a late-morning news briefing about election matters on Tuesday. She said election officials so far are “really just monitoring a normal stream of disinformation.”

Coloradans had been spared episodes such as the suspicious spate of robocalls reported in Michigan and other states telling voters to “stay safe and stay home,” for example, Griswold said.

Griswold has received national attention for her efforts to combat election misinformation. She recently established an anti-misinformation initiative, which warns, “It’s happening, Colorado. Foreign adversaries are trying to interfere with our elections and undermine confidence in the results.”

Last updated:2:22 pm

3 weeks ago

2:03 pm

Power outage closes voting center at Aurora’s MLK Library

By: Chase Woodruff

A voting center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Aurora has temporarily closed due to a power outage, Arapahoe County Clerk Joan Lopez said on Twitter early Tuesday afternoon.

Multiple Democratic sources, including the Biden campaign and Rep. Jason Crow, said on Twitter that the issue won’t likely be resolved until at least 3:15 p.m., and encouraged voters to go to nearby polling places at the Community College of Aurora or Aurora Public Schools Educational Services Center 4.

Update, 1:49 p.m.: Power at the voting center has been restored, according to a tweet from Lopez.

3 weeks ago

1:47 pm

Denver’s mobile polling center offers outdoor voting option

By: Chase Woodruff

Voters cast their ballots at a mobile polling place in downtown Denver on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)

Elections officials in Denver and across the state say they’ve taken steps to make in-person voting as safe as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you’re a Denver resident wishing to take an extra precautionary measure and avoid having to go indoors to vote altogether, officials have you covered.

The Denver Elections Division has operated its “Haul-N-Votes” mobile voting center for the past several elections, but it may be especially useful this year for last-minute voters who want to minimize their chances of infection. The unit, located at 18th St. and Lincoln Ave., is offering about a dozen outdoor voting booths and will remain open until polls close at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Last updated:1:48 pm

3 weeks ago

1:34 pm

Colorado turnout by Election Day morning surpasses 2016 total

By: Newsline staff

More Colorado voters had already returned ballots by the morning of Election Day 2020 than had voted in total in 2016, according to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Griswold during a news briefing Tuesday morning said 76.6% of active voters in the state had returned ballots, for a total 2,893,395 ballots. Unaffiliated voters were the first to have returned more than 1 million ballots.

“Our election model sets the national standard,” Griswold said.

She reminded voters that ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

State election officials expect to have 70%-80% of results available by Tuesday night, Griswold said. But, since ballot-counting can continue days after Election Day, Griswold cautioned, “Election night results are never final results.”

 

 

3 weeks ago

1:07 pm

“We are ready”: Poised for big wins, Colorado Democrats make final push on Election Day

By: Chase Woodruff

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks during a virtual press conference hosted by Colorado Democrats on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (Screenshot via Zoom)

More than a dozen of Colorado’s top Democrats joined a virtual press conference on Tuesday morning to urge supporters to get out the vote in the final hours before the polls close tonight — though as state Rep. Leslie Herod acknowledged, the party is feeling confident ahead of an election that appears set to shatter turnout records.

“I thought we were going to be on this call telling people to get out the vote,” said Herod, a Colorado co-chair for former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. “And I was wrong — folks have been voting in droves.”

Still, Colorado Democrats aren’t ready to celebrate just yet, stressing the need to sprint to the finish line as the party seeks to repeat its dominant 2018 electoral performance in a pivotal presidential election year. Officials reminded Coloradans that polling places across the state allow same-day registration, and encouraged those who’ve already cast a ballot to reach out to friends and family to head to the polls, too.

Gov. Jared Polis said that his husband, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, texted 178 people with a GOTV message on Monday. And Colorado House Speaker KC Becker highlighted the importance of down-ballot races as Democrats seek to expand their majorities at the State Capitol.

“Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas,” said former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is favored to unseat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in a crucial U.S. Senate race. “We need to run through the tape.”

Hickenlooper also slammed the Republican Party’s “coast to coast” efforts to restrict voter access and invalidate ballots through litigation. “We can’t let them get away with it,” he said.

In Colorado, with polls showing commanding leads for Biden over President Donald Trump and for Hickenlooper over Gardner, Democrats are gearing up for a night that has been four years in the making.

“We are ready,” Herod said. “We’re ready for this day. We’re ready to take back our nation.”

3 weeks ago

12:55 pm

The Colorado Democratic Party will host a virtual watch party at 7 p.m.

By: Moe Clark

The Colorado Democratic Party will host a virtual watch party tonight at 7 p.m. featuring Chairwoman Morgan Carroll and Executive Director Halisi Vinson, as well as national, state, and local elected officials. You can register online here to receive a Zoom link before the event begins.

The Colorado Republican Party has not publicized a virtual watch party event.

3 weeks ago

12:32 pm

Calm your nerves with this behind-the-scenes look at the journey your ballot takes to be counted

By: Moe Clark

Ballots await counting at the Jefferson County Elections building on Oct. 21, 2020. (Eli Imadali for Colorado Newsline)

As of 4 p.m. on Monday, 2,765,244 ballots have been returned in Colorado.

Election results will start pouring in at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, but it will be hours or even days before some races are called. To calm your nerves, check out this story with a behind-the-scenes look at the journey your ballot takes to be counted.

Pam Anderson, the executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said that the election procedures and security protocols across the state are consistent, with minor differences depending on the size of the county.

“It’s dictated by statute, and by secretary of state rules,” said Anderson, who served as the Jefferson County Clerk for eight years. “One of the beautiful things about our system is the consistency that we’ve built into it.”

3 weeks ago

8:57 am

5 down-ballot races to watch in Colorado

By: Newsline staff

With just hours remaining for Colorado voters to return their ballots in the 2020 election, there’s little suspense about who will prevail in the two biggest statewide races.

But away from the top of the ticket, there’s still plenty of intrigue heading into Election Night in Colorado — and not only in the 3rd Congressional District, where the contest between right-wing activist Lauren Boebert and former state lawmaker Diane Mitsch Bush has become a battleground in Democrats’ efforts to expand their House majority. At the state and local level, too, the outcomes of several key races could carry significant policy implications and offer clues about Colorado’s political future. Read Newsline reporter Chase Woodruff’s report on five down-ballot races to keep an eye on as results begin to roll in on Tuesday night.

Five down-ballot races to watch on election night in Colorado

3 weeks ago

10:37 pm

No on Proposition 113 campaign surprisingly bipartisan, organizer says

By: Newsline staff

When Rose Pugliese set out to help lead an effort to repeal Colorado’s participation in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, she expected to encounter certain partisan fault lines.

“I thought it would be a rural-urban divide,” she said on Monday.

It didn’t turn out that way.

“What we found was the complete opposite,” Pugliese said. “We’ve had Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliateds on the ground collecting signatures … We had as many people signing petitions in Grand Junction as there was in Boulder.”

Pugliese, a Republican, is a Mesa County commissioner. The effort to put the national popular vote question to voters succeeded, and it appears as Proposition 113 on the statewide ballot. It’s a rare referendum petition, whereby citizens, if they gather enough signatures, can refer a law already passed by the Legislature to a vote of the people. Participation in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would mean Colorado’s nine electoral votes would be cast not for the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in Colorado but the candidate who wins the most votes in the nation. It’s a way to ensure the president is the national popular vote winner. The compact would take effect only if a collection of states with a total 270 electoral votes join. With Colorado, the compact has 187 votes to its credit so far. A “yes” vote affirms Colorado’s participation in the compact.

Statewide ballot measures

The person responsible for collecting the second most signatures to get Proposition 113 on the ballot was Lauren Boebert, the Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, Pugliese said.

Pugliese feels “optimistic” about the Tuesday vote, she said. But whatever happens on Election Day, she finds reason to celebrate in the very effort to repeal the compact.

“This turned out to be one of the most bipartisan movements in Colorado history to put a question on the ballot,” Puliese said. That kind of involvement “is really a testament to who we are as Coloradans.”

4 weeks ago

5:15 pm

Colorado election officials: Risk of foreign interference increases this week

By: Faith Miller

Jena Griswold
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks outside a polling center at Swansea Recreation Center the morning of Colorado’s primary election on June 30, 2020. (Faith Miller/Colorado Newsline)

At a virtual news briefing, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and members of her team warned that foreign actors may up their efforts to spread disinformation as Election Day nears.

“The federal authorities have warned that the risk of foreign interference increases on the days right before the election, Election Day and the days immediately following the election,” Griswold said during the briefing Nov. 2.

Disinformation can spread through social media or fake news websites, she said, and is aimed at undermining voter confidence in the electoral process and results. It “disproportionately continues to target minority populations and older Americans,” Griswold said.

Recent warnings from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security alerted Americans to fake websites that were probably intended to post false election results, the targeting of election computer systems by Russia and Iran, and emails aimed at intimidating voters, linked to Iran.

None of the attacks affected Colorado, according to Griswold, who added that federal officials “have no evidence these efforts hurt other states’ ability to conduct free and fair elections.”

Democrats have also worried that poll watchers could be intimidating voters, after President Donald Trump in a September debate asked his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.”

But voter intimidation by poll watchers doesn’t appear to be happening in Colorado, Election Director Judd Choate said — perhaps because there are safeguards in place.

“Colorado requires that poll watchers take a training in order to be close to the activity that’s happening in an election, at an election facility,” Choate said. “Anyone who’s going to see personal identifying information about a potential voter … they have to take a training to better understand what’s happening at that time, and how they need to keep that information confidential.”

“It’s really important that our watchers have a sense about the legalities surrounding those behaviors, those processes that the counties undertake,” he added.

Read more about poll watchers here.

Colorado is nationally lauded for operating one of the safest and most secure election systems in the country. It’s one of only a handful of states to conduct a risk-limiting audit after each election, and statewide paper ballots negate the possibility of hacked voting machines. Voting equipment is never connected to the internet.

Griswold also said increased public health restrictions in some counties that recently moved levels on the state’s COVID-19 dial system won’t affect anyone’s ability to vote.

“Any change in the COVID levels of counties will not affect the voting centers and how they operate, and voters should feel, just, confident in whichever way they choose to vote,” Griswold said. “Of course, we are a heavily mail-ballot state. We really encourage voters to vote their mail ballot if they still have them.”

Voting centers aren’t affected by capacity limits, but have employed public health guidelines such as mask wearing among all election workers.

Visit GoVoteColorado.gov for the latest election information from the Colorado secretary of state’s office.

4 weeks ago

2:50 pm

Election director: Colorado could see 80% turnout among eligible voters

By: Newsline staff

Colorado could be the first-ever state to achieve 80% percent turnout among eligible voters in an election, according to Judd Choate, the Colorado election director.

Choate suggested the milestone could be reached in a Sunday tweet

“Colorado’s turnout is 2,533,050, or 67.2% of active and 59.1% of eligible voters. At this pace Colorado could be the first US state (ever) to reach 80% turnout among eligible voters,” Choate wrote.

He cited the breakdown until then of those who had voted: 75.5% Democrats, 69.6% Republicans and 60.4% unaffiliated. Boulder, among all Colorado counties, had the highest turnout so far, with 74.9%.

Choate also predicted that up to five states — Washington, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota and Colorado — could achieve, or come close to, 80% turnout among eligible voters.

In a subsequent tweet he clarified that the milestone would apply to “modern” elections, “where most adults are eligible and turnout is based on state tabulation numbers, not reports from counties, parishes, townships or cities.”

Last updated:3:03 pm

4 weeks ago

12:44 pm

What to expect on election night in Colorado

By: Faith Miller

Election judges, usually temporary workers, organize ballots to go through the sorting machine at the Jefferson County Elections building on Oct. 21, 2020. (Eli Imadali for Colorado Newsline)

As of Oct. 30, four days before the general election, Coloradans had already returned more than 2.43 million ballots. That comprises a 64.7% turnout among active registered voters.

In 2016, 1.85 million ballots were returned four days before the November election, representing 59.2% of active voters.

High turnout among early voters portends well for election staff in county clerks’ offices, and it could mean there’s a better chance of knowing likely winners by the day after the election — though all results are unofficial until they’re certified Nov. 25.

“We’re seeing a really brisk early vote,” said Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, adding that if voters “know their choices and can vote early, we think that’s awesome.”

The Colorado secretary of state’s office estimates that about 75% to 80% of ballots will be counted by midday Nov. 4.

Read more about what to expect on election night here.

Last updated:12:47 pm

4 weeks ago

12:16 pm

What poll watchers can – and can’t – do at voting sites in Colorado

By: Moe Clark

John Botthoff, right, a poll watcher, observes election workers going through the signature verification process at the Jefferson County elections office on Oct. 21, 2020. (Eli Imadali for Colorado Newsline)

During the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, President Donald Trump urged his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully” for potential issues. But not anyone can walk into a polling place or election office and watch the process.

Poll watchers, also referred to election watchers, are volunteers who are certified and trained to observe election activities and report back to their affiliated political party if any issues arise. They can be present at any part of the process, including at polling sites and during signature verification and ballot counts. 

“For the people who are showing up and wanting to observe and have not met the requirements, they are going to be asked to leave,” said George Stern, Jefferson County’s clerk and recorder. “But nicely, and we will encourage them to take the steps that they need in order to come back and join us when they are in compliance with state law.”

Read more of reporter Moe Clark’s story here.

Last updated:12:19 pm

4 weeks ago

4:54 pm

Watch Denver’s ballot processing live

By: Newsline staff

Denver offers livestream views of its ballot processing rooms. Watch below:

Last updated:5:50 pm