The case for early voting in Colorado in two sentences

The case for early voting in Colorado in two sentences

Voters in El Paso County got this note in the mail along with their ballots for the upcoming Nov. 3 election.


Shorter message: Vote early and the campaigns will leave you the hell alone.

Under Colorado’s new election laws, registered voters are mailed ballots for each election and can vote entirely through the U.S. Postal Service, or they can drop off their ballots at polling locations when they wish. And because information is public about which households have turned in ballots, in the run-up to an election, campaigns have a pretty good idea who voted and who hasn’t.

That means those campaigns can micro-target residents who haven’t yet turned in their ballots, hammering late voters with direct mail or phone calls. Once those households vote, then the campaigns can move on and put resources elsewhere.

Last year, Colorado became the only state other than Washington and Oregon to have universal, all-mail elections. During the first major statewide election with an all-mail voting system here, The Huffington Post reported how Colorado voters were “getting hassled like never before.”

This year, an unsigned note accompanying ballots mailed out in El Paso County reads in part:

“By returning your ballot early, campaigns will see that you have already voted and will have no reason to contact you. Help stop the calls by returning your ballot as soon as you have marked your choices!”


Photo credit: Rikki’s Refugue, Creative Commons, Flickr

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.

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