Secretary of State reports 61 percent turnout for Summit County |

Secretary of State reports 61 percent turnout for Summit County

The Colorado Secretary of State is reporting that Summit County saw a 61 percent participation rate compared to the number of registered voters in the county.
Alli Langley /

More than 16,700 ballots were cast across Summit County in Tuesday’s midterm elections, marking a participation rate of over 61 percent of registered voters in the county based on figures from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

The most recent totals with the secretary of state, which has 27,112 registered voters on file for Summit County, put the county squarely in the middle of the pack for participation rates across Colorado. However, some of these figures will change for individual counties, as hundreds of thousands of ballots across the state have yet to be counted.

In the middle of Tuesday’s election rush, Summit County Clerk and Recorder Kathy Neel was seeing a steady stream of voters and predicted that local turnout would exceed the 2014 midterm election but not likely the 2016 presidential election.

Overall, 2.5 million Coloradans cast ballots statewide. Women held an edge over men in the numbers, and more Democrat-affiliated voters (822,419) voted than those registered as Republican (804,991).

Because some counties are still processing ballots, roughly 400,000 of them had not yet been counted by Wednesday afternoon and therefore were not included in the turnout totals reported on the secretary of state’s website.

“This happens each election,” wrote Lynn Bartels, communications director for the secretary of state, in an emailed response explaining the discrepancy between the website and the office’s news releases regarding the number of ballots received. “Election night is just the start of tabulation, not the end.”

Additionally, language is important in determining voter turnout because not all registered voters are considered “active.” Depending on which term someone uses — registered voters or active voters — that too tends to affect the figures.

It’s important to say the turnout totals published on the secretary of state’s website do not match the number of “ballots received” for Summit County (14,515), also put out by the secretary of state’s office.

Workers at the office suggested checking with the county clerk to nail down local turnout rates. However, Neel was out of the office Wednesday, and attempts to reach the chief deputy clerk to confirm figures were unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, though, Neel said she noticed an increasing number of people taking advantage of mail ballots with over 10,000 votes cast that way this year in Summit County alone, showing that more people seem to enjoy filling out their ballots away from the polls and skipping the in-person voting lines.

“Every year it seems like in-person voting gets a little bit less as people get used it,” said Neel, who ran unopposed and won another term herself on Tuesday.

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