Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: New Report Ranks Colorado’s Best and Worst Counties for Voting Access
Press Release

RELEASE: New Report Ranks Colorado’s Best and Worst Counties for Voting Access

New County-by-County Analysis of Colorado’s Election Administration in the 2012 Election

Washington, D.C. – The Colorado counties with the worst voting access are Logan, Morgan, and Mesa, according to a new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The report identifies Colorado’s best and worst performers for voting access and voter experience by looking at six factors that reflect voters’ ability to participate in the democratic process: voter turnout, overall voter registration rate, rate of registered voters purged from voting rolls, provisional ballots cast, provisional ballots rejected, and absentee ballots rejected.

In addition to examining Colorado’s worst election offenders, the report offers county-by-county analysis of 16 other swing states—states with the smallest margin of victory between the two presidential candidates in 2012: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The report finds that with election administration delegated to officials and boards in more than 3,000 counties and localities in the United States, the ease with which one exercises his or her right to vote can depend on where he or she lives. This pattern played out in every state that was analyzed.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Logan County was the worst in the state on four factors: voter registration, voter turnout, rate of provisional ballots rejected, and rate of voters removed from the voting rolls. In particular, Logan County rejected more than half—51.3 percent—of the provisional ballots cast. This is more than 2.5 times the state average of 19.4 percent.
  • Morgan County was also one of the worst performers on multiple factors. Morgan County had the third-worst voter registration rate, rate of provisional ballots cast, and rate of provisional ballots rejected. It was fourth worst on the rate of voters removed from the voter rolls and overall voter turnout.
  • Similarly, Mesa County was a poor performer. It had the second-highest rate of provisional ballots rejected in the state—more than double the state average. It also had the fifth-worst rate of voters removed from the voter rolls.
  • Denver County also stood out for having the highest rate of provisional ballots cast and the highest rate of absentee ballots rejected. In Denver County, more than 20 percent of the votes cast on Election Day were provisional ballots—nearly double the state average rate. Denver also rejected absentee ballots at a rate three times greater than the state average.

The report’s findings provide insights that can help officials, policymakers, and advocates better understand voting administration practices that work. By comparing voter access and experience across Colorado’s counties, officials can determine the best practices for ensuring that citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

Read the report: Unequal Access: A County-by-County Analysis of Election Administration in Swing States in the 2012 Election by Anna Chu, Joshua Field, and Charles Posner

To speak with experts on this issue, please contact Madeline Meth at [email protected] or 202.741.6277.