All Mail Ballot Measure Fails in Colorado, but Issue Isn't Dead
A study from the University of Colorado Denver has found that conducting all-mail ballots in the state would be less expensive than traditional elections. This confirms what many county clerks have been saying for years.
The study was commissioned by former Secretary Of State Bernie Buescher, and looked at the impacts of all-mail elections. It surveyed county clerks and voting rights activists. While all-mail elections would be cheaper, opinions on them vary.
“92% of the clerks that responded, which were most of the clerks in the state, supported a change to all-mail ballot, whereas a group we would call voting activists that are promoting civic engagement, only 40% of them supported a switch to all-mail ballots,” says Allen Wallis, Associate Professor at the Cu Denver School of Public Affairs.
The study found that all-mail elections would be about 19% less costly than in-person voting. But voter activists fear that all mail ballots would affect access and voter turnout. Some 70% of Colorado voters currently vote by mail, and in 2010, voter turnout wasn’t adversely affected.
“We compared counties that conducted the 2010 primary using all-mail balloting and those that used traditional polling places or voting centers. When you compare those two groups, the counties that used all-mail balloting had roughly a10% greater turnout,” says Wallis.
A bill to move Colorado to all-mail elections was pulled by its sponsors on Thursday. They say they want to allow for more time for voter education. The County Clerks Association says they will work this year to educate more and more Coloradans on how all-mail elections would affect the state.