Colorado Election Reforms Improve Voter Experience

Pew recently released a brief documenting the impact of Colorado’s Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act of 2013 as reflected in state data and a survey of more than 1,500 Colorado voters. Our findings indicate that the average cost per vote of administering elections decreased, the number of provisional ballots issued declined sharply, most voters returned their ballots in person rather than by mail, and voter satisfaction with the new system is very high.

Election costs. Forty-six of the state’s 64 counties—those with data available—spent an average of $9.56 per vote in 2014, down from $15.96 in 2008, and all but three spent less per vote in 2014 than in 2008. Of the five cost categories tracked—printing, labor, rental, postage, and miscellaneous—the analysis found decreases in four on a per-vote basis.

Colorado Voting Table

Provisional ballots. The implementation of same-day registration, vote centers, and the delivery of mail ballots to all voters appear to have contributed to a nearly 98 percent reduction in the issuance of provisional ballots between 2010 (39,361) and 2014 (981). Thirty-six counties had no provisional ballots cast in 2014, up from just eight in 2010. Amber McReynolds, director of elections for the city and county of Denver, estimates that the decrease saved her office approximately $28,000.

Mail ballots. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of voters said they returned their ballots in person, usually to a drop box, rather than by mail. Convenience seems to have been a factor: Of these voters, 78 percent said it took less than 10 minutes to get to a designated drop-off location.

Voter satisfaction. Mail and in-person voters said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their voting experience at nearly identical rates: 95 and 96 percent, respectively.

Sean Greene is the project director and Kyle Ueyama is a research associate for election initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Follow us on Twitter using #electiondata and get the latest data dispatches, research, and news by subscribing today.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Voter Turnout
Voter Turnout
Article

Election Dispatches

Election administration by the numbers

Quick View
Article

Election Data Dispatches provides data, research and analysis about election administration in the U.S. While we link to external research data and other materials, we neither independently verify them, endorse the reports, nor affirm the authors' opinions.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.