DENVER – Nearly 7,000 unaffiliated voters in this year’s primary elections in Colorado had their ballots rejected because they did not follow the rules.
Of the 293,153 unaffiliated voters who participated in the June 26 primaries, 6,914 submitted both Democratic and Republican ballots, ensuring neither was counted. Unaffiliated voters were told they could only send in one ballot.
Still, state election officials and backers of the initiative to open the state’s primaries consider the 2.4 percent ballot rejection rate a success for the inaugural run of the new law, The Denver Post reported.
Based on a study of a similar open primary system in Washington, election officials had expected the first primary’s rejection rate to reach as high as 7 percent.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams said he was “incredibly proud” of the efforts by the media and county clerks across the state to get the word out that unaffiliated voters could only cast one ballot. In the weeks before the primary, he sounded the alarm publicly that plenty of early voters were filling out both ballots.
The highest rejection rates for submitting both ballots were reported by southern Colorado’s Conejos County, at 13.8 percent, and the Eastern Plains’ Kit Carson County, at 10.9 percent.
The lowest rejection rate – 0.4 percent – was in Adams County.