Garfield County mail ballot primary turnout is 48 percent turnout |

Garfield County mail ballot primary turnout is 48 percent turnout

Garfield County’s first-ever all mail ballot primary election resulted in a nearly 48 percent turnout, far bigger than any other primary election in recent memory, according to county Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico.

“It is a lot of work up front to do the mail ballots, but we really like doing elections by mail,” Alberico said as final results were being tallied Tuesday night.

Out of 15,622 total ballots sent to active Republican, Democrat and Libertarian party voters – the three political parties in which there were primary contests for statewide and local offices – 7,449 ballots were returned by Tuesday’s election day deadline.

By comparison, less than 1,000 Garfield County voters cast ballots in the 2008 primary elections, Alberico said.

“Granted, there wasn’t as much to vote for in that election,” she said. But the mail ballots likely served to make it easier for people to vote in several hotly contested primary races this time around, she said.

“We had actually hoped for 50 percent, but we were pleased with the number of people who did participate,” Alberico said.

A breakout by party shows that, of 9,278 Republican ballots that were sent out in Garfield County, 4,692 were returned; and, of 7,194 Democratic ballots that went out, 2,753 were cast.

Garfield County also sent out 116 Libertarian Party ballots, which included contested races to choose candidates for Colorado governor and the U.S. Senate. Of those, 30 were cast.

A fair number of unaffiliated voters in Garfield County also declared a party affiliation in order to vote in the primary.

Since the beginning of this year, a total of 690 previously unaffiliated voters affiliated with a party; 495 of those declared with the Republican Party, according to figures provided by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Voters who have formally declared as a permanent mail ballot voter will receive their general election ballots in the mail as requested. However, Garfield County is still required to conduct a polling place election on Nov. 2 for those voters who still prefer to vote on Election Day, Alberico said.

She added that 57 percent of the county’s registered voters have requested to be permanent mail-ballot voters.

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