A look into Election Day in Northern Colorado
It’s Election Day, and voters across Colorado are dropping off their ballots or filling them out in person.
As of this morning, more than 1.7 million ballots were returned in Colorado, according to data from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. Most of those ballots came from unaffiliated voters, followed by Democrats and Republican voters. Yet, participation is lagging even further behind previous years.
Those numbers will change as the day goes on, particularly due to the influx of mail-in ballots in the state.
“People have been holding onto their ballots longer this election, but I am still very confident that people are going to turn in their ballots today,” said Molly Fitzpatrick, the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder.
Some voters said that they hold onto their ballots in order to do some research on the people and the propositions.
"It took me a while to vote because I was reading about a lot of the issues and trying to read through the pros and the cons,” said Margaret Melville, a Boulder resident. “There were a lot of local ballot measures. I was surprised at how long that ballot was this year."
This year the ballots contained several races for governor, senate, judge positions and more. That can be a lot of information to digest at the polls, according to Boulder Public Library employee Sydney Beltz.
"We always get it, and it was like, ‘Oh, it's double-sided, oh my gosh, there's three pages, there's more and more and more!’" she said.
A few propositions caught the eyes of voters this year. One of those is Proposition 122, which if it passes, would decriminalize hallucinogenic substances for adults that are 21 years of age or older.
“I'm also excited to vote for the allowance of psychedelic substances,” said Ryan Bigham, a Boulder resident. “And I'm excited to see what our government could do if we put the proper funds and people to that issue.”
Another measure — Proposition 125 — would allow grocery and convenience stores that are already licensed to sell beer to add wine to that list. Dotti Dittmer, a Greeley resident, said she voted yes so there can be easier access, even though she does not drink herself.
“They're selling beer already,” she said. “I don't think the mom-and-pop business is going to go out of business because they're now selling wine in the grocery store. The amount of people who drink, I'm sure there's enough to go around.”
As a former New Jersey teacher, she also agreed with Proposition FF, which would provide free school lunches for kids. However, she is concerned about where the funding would come from for the lunches.
“I'm reviewing how much will actually be taken out of our taxes to pay for it, so I'm a little bit on the fence,” Dittmer said. “But I am in favor of feeding those that don't get a really good meal at home.”
Another area of interest this election year is the new 8th Congressional District. The area, which stretches from the bottom of Interstate 70 up to Greeley, has a high percentage of Latino voters, which could change the makeup of the House of Representatives.
"There's no doubt that with Colorado's growth, that we have an extra going to have an extra representative,” said Keith Sommerfeld, a Greeley resident. “It's kind of exciting to see how this district will come out."
Milo Marquez is the head of the Colorado Latino Action Council. He said both political parties are trying to make themselves known in the new district.
"Both parties see an opportunity because of the large population, and they're both going after those votes,” Marquez said. “You see the Republicans setting up offices in the new Congressional District, and you see the Democrats doing the same.”
At the end of the day, some voters just want to see changes in the current makeup of the government.
"I think it's time for a change, and we need to get some other people in there,” said Gene Shriver, a Platteville resident. “You know, every little bit helps."
Others want to see change on the local level.
"I was excited to vote for some of the amendments ... reducing penalties for [the] use of medicinal drugs, and the library, things like that, just to make the community a little better,” said Bill Richter, a Boulder resident.
The polls will be open until 7:00 p.m. tonight, but results may take some time to get through as mail-in ballots are processed.
Read more about KUNC’s 2022 Midterm Elections coverage on our website or read about what our reporters are seeing on our live blog.