Of Las Animas County’s 9,015 registered voters, 3,876 ballots were cast in the Colorado State Primary Tuesday for a voter turnout of 43 percent.
Statewide, voter turnout was 41.40 percent.
Chief among the contested races on Tuesday was the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator. In that race former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper beat challenger Andrew Romanoff with 59.54 percent of the vote statewide. Hickenlooper also won in Las Animas County with 1,443 votes to Romanoff’s 870 (62.39 percent). He will face incumbent Republican nominee Cory Gardner in the general election this fall.
Most local races were run unopposed.
Ike McCorkle earned the Democratic nomination for the District 4 U.S. Representative race and he will run against Republican nominee and incumbent Ken Buck.
Former Trinidad City Councilmember Carlos Lopez earned the Democratic nomination and will face Republican nominee Cleave Simpson to take the state senate seat that has been held for two terms by Larry Crowder.
Meanwhile in the District 64 State Representative race it will be Republican Richard Holtorf, who was chosen to fill the term of Kimmi Lewis after her death, against Democratic challenger Dean Ormiston.
Current Third Judicial District Attorney Henry Solano (DEM) will run unopposed to continue serving Las Animas and Huerfano County. So will incumbent Las Animas County Commissioners Felix Lopez (REP) and Luis Lopez II (DEM) to represent county districts Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Statewide, a record-breaking 1,577,347 ballots were returned to county election officials as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night. “The 2020 state primary turnout is easily the largest of any state primary in Colorado’s history,” said the Secretary of State’s office.
Of all voted ballots, 99.3 percent were returned via mail or ballot drop box. “Turnout rate is already at 44.96 percent of active voters and will increase as more ballots are processed, as opposed to 37.63 percent for the state primary held in 2018,” said the Secretary of State’s office.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold touted the turnout for this state primary and said it proves the vote-by-mail model is successful and makes elections more accessible.
“In midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado just set a record turnout for a state primary. A total of 99.3 percent of voters cast a mail ballot, and there were not lengthy lines or wait times reported at in-person voting centers,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “Despite misleading attacks, disinformation, and attempts to make vote-by-mail a partisan issue, Colorado’s election proves that mail ballots are the key to accessible voting during this health crisis.”
There were 918,374 ballots returned for the Democratic Primary and 565,805 returned for the Republican Primary. Within each party’s primary, 99.4 percent of voters who participated in the Republican Primary returned their ballot by mail while 99.2 percent of voters who participated in the Democratic Primary did the same.
The nation took notice of Colorado’s primary and the ease of its operation.
Wrote the New York Times Wednesday, “The state avoided the miserable lines that voters in Georgia and Wisconsin recently endured — lines that are a waste of time and, even worse, a health risk during a pandemic.
“And unlike in Kentucky and New York, Colorado didn’t take a week or more to count its ballots. It began counting before Election Day. After polls closed, at 7 p.m., people quickly knew that John Hickenlooper had won the Democratic nomination in a closely watched Senate race.”