Friday, August 20, 2010

"People are voting like crazy up here"

That’s what one county clerk had to say about Colorado’s recent primary. The turnout rate was over 40% for both Republicans and Democrats, matching or exceeding the turnout rate for primaries in the last three decades. That amounts to over 713,000 ballots cast, surpassing 2008’s turnout by more than 100,000.

In part, clerks and election experts attribute the high rate to the ease of voting by mail. Forty-six of the state's 64 counties held mail-ballot-only elections, and a large number of voters in the remaining counties also chose to vote by mail.

Voting by mail also saved Colorado a great deal of money. In Douglas County, taxpayers saved roughly $200,000 - half the cost of a typical election. Counties found that costs per voter were reduced from about $43 per voter at a polling site, to around $6 for each mail-only-ballot voter.

Oregon has been conducting all of their elections entirely by mail since 1999, while 38 of 39 counties in Washington have already implemented all-mail voting.

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