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Independents Boost Historic Primary Turnout in Colorado

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

Colorado voters went to the polls Tuesday for the 2018 midterm primary elections. It was the first major primary season independents were allowed to participate in without re-registering with one of the major parties since Proposition 108 passed in 2016.

Midterm primaries historically don't have as high of turnout as presidential primaries, but Colorado saw historic participation in 2018.

With 98.4% of precincts reporting, 1,142,008 ballots have been counted statewide. That is nearly 35% of active registered voters (as of the last report released by the secretary of state). This is the highest voter turnout in a recent Colorado primary.  The 2010 primary turnout previously held this distinction with 32.36% turnout.

And since independents do not need to re-register with a party to vote, we have hard numbers that shows how much of an impact they had in the election. Though still being forced to choose between a Republican or Democratic ballot, approximately a quarter of primary electorate were unaffiliated voters.

These voters pushed a historic primary turnout even higher. Though members of the press seem intent on downplaying the impact these voters had in key races, and the point of open primary reform.

Proposition 108 opened existing primary elections to independent voters. Proposition 107 replaced the state's caucus system with open presidential primaries. Both were approved by voters in 2016.

Photo Credit: iQoncept /

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