Analysis

Colorado Attempts to Cancel Uncontested Primaries

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recent dispatch illustrated the high costs and low turnout for uncontested elections. In 2013, Colorado lawmakers attempted to reduce costs by allowing counties to cancel uncontested primary elections. House Bill 1067, which was rejected by the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee during the 2013 legislative session, would have allowed county clerks to cancel uncontested primary elections. The bill had the support of election administrators in Colorado’s largest counties:

  • The Denver county clerk and recorder testified that if the bill passed, her jurisdiction would save approximately $100,000 for each canceled, uncontested primary. 
  • The El Paso county clerk and recorder testified that of 360 races in the 2012 primary, only 28 were contested. 
  • Smaller counties would have saved about 40 percent of their total election budgets.  

Opponents of the bill were concerned that candidates whose primary elections were canceled would be at a disadvantage when raising funds for the general election.

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