DENVER – Not only did Colorado have the fourth-highest voter turnout of any state in last year’s election, but one of our House races was among just a handful with a margin of victory within 10 percentage points in an election that was largely a landslide for congressional seats nationwide.
The U.S. Elections Project and Nonprofit VOTE released a report titled “America Goes to the Polls 2016” that details voter turnout and voting data from the 2016 election on Thursday.
It shows that 65 percent of the country’s eligible voting population lives in states where the outcome was “largely a foregone conclusion,” according to the report.
That trickled down to voting patterns, the report says, as only 33 House races across the country ended with a margin of victory within 10 percentage points. It says 74 percent of the races were “landslides or uncontested.”
One of those 33 was the race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.
Incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, narrowly defeated Democrat Morgan Carroll in the race, and was also challenged by Libertarian Norm Olsen and Green party candidate Robert Lee Worthey.
Coffman won re-election for the seat with 50.9 percent; Carroll, who now chairs Colorado’s Democratic Party, garnered 42.6 percent; Olsen took home 5 percent of the vote, and Worthey got 1.5 percent.
The rest of Colorado’s congressional district races were not near as close as the 8.3 percent different between Coffman and Carroll.
The District 3 race between Republican Scott Tipton and Democrat Gail Schwartz ended in a 14.2 percent difference, with Tipton garnering 54.6 percent of the vote, compared to Schwartz’s 40.4 percent. It was the second-closest congressional race in Colorado.
The 7th Congressional District race between Democrat Ed Perlmutter and George Athanasopoulos saw a Perlmutter victory by 15.4 percent, and the gaps in Colorado got bigger from there.
Democrat Jared Polis beat Republican Nicholas Morse by 19.7 percentage points in the 2nd Congressional District; Republican Doug Lamborn defeated Democrat Mistry Plowright by 31.4 percentage points in the 5th Congressional District; Republican Ken Buck defeated Democrat Bob Seay by 31.9 percentage points in the 4th Congressional District; and Democrat Diana DeGette beat Republican Charles “Casper” Stockham by a whopping 40.2 percentage points in the 1st Congressional District.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Arapahoe County, which is home to the 6th Congressional District, says its voter turnout of 73.9 percent was above the state average.
The election report says that all six of the states that saw the highest voter turnout were in states that offer same-day registration, and five of them were labeled “battleground states.”
The states that saw the lowest turnout (Hawaii, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas) all have voter registration cut-off dates three or four weeks before Election Day, according to the report, and have been at the bottom of turnout numbers for three consecutive presidential elections.