Colorado’s new election law requiring that ballots be mailed to voters may have helped Republicans more than the Democrats who pushed for it in the first place.
The law passed in 2013 without a single Republican vote and conservatives worried that the change would benefit Democrats in the long run by making it easier for occasional voters to cast a ballot.
But turnout figures from Tuesday’s election show that the majority of voters were both older and Republican, with the Democratic turnout being about the same as during the 2010 midterm.
A plurality of all voters, 25 percent, were over 65 and nearly half — 48 percent — were over 55, according to statistics from Magellan Strategies.
“What has been viewed as a partisan attempt by Democrats to further capitalize on the state’s shifting demographics, making it easier for low-propensity voters to cast ballots, appears to have backfired,” Politico wrote.
Democrats put a lot of final-week effort in to getting their supporters to actually put the ballots in the mail, with candidates visiting college campuses and Sen. Mark Udall embarking on a bus tour of the state to encourage turnout.
According to statistics, the effort resulted in only about 10,000 more 18-34 Democratic voters turning out than did for the 2010 election. That was no competition for the 61,000 more Republicans over 55 who turned out this year than during the last election.
“The new law clearly raised the age of the electorate,” Ben Davis, a strategist with Gov. John Hickenlooper‘s campaign, told Politico. “Without a doubt, that’s an unintended consequence of the law and it left Udall almost helpless to survive the Republican wave.”
Overall, Republicans represented 37.4 percent of those casting votes, compared to 32 percent Democrats and 30.6 percent unaffiliated.
Senate candidate Cory Gardner beat Udall to become the first Republican elected to the Senate from Colorado since 2002. Hickenlooper barely survived reelection against former Republican congressman Bob Beauprez.
Republicans are expected to have done well in state races as well, but the majorities of both chambers of the state legislature were still unknown Thursday due to several races that are still too close to call.
But the station cautioned that there are likely to be recounts.