EL PASO COUNTY — A surge of voters on election day pushed the number of people casting ballots to over 30% or registered voters. A big jump from just days earlier, yet still a low turn-out.
"You always expect a significant drop-off from presidential elections," said University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Political Science Professor, Josh Dunn. He is also a little surprised numbers are not higher than early results showed, in part because there are numerous school board member decisions. During the year of COVID-19 school boards have become a hot topic because of debate over how to handle things like mask mandates. There has also been passionate debate over schools and teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT).
A year ago, when the election included the race for President, along with seats in the U.S. Senate and House, voter turnout in Colorado was close to 80% of registered voters. "I think that it's a mistake on the part of voters to think that these local races and these local ballot measures don't matter as much." Dunn said off-year elections may seem less prestigious, but what is on the ballot can often have a more direct impact on the local community.