The Denver Post published an editorial declaring that the “…test of the state’s all-mail ballot and vote center system…” was a success because 2 million votes were cast compared to 1.8 million for the 2010 midterm election. The sad fact is that the Post was bragging about a 53% voter participation despite the ease of voting by mail.
Colorado voters were significantly more engaged that the nation as a whole. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that just 36.4% of eligible voters in the nation cast votes, which was the lowest turnout since 1942. There were seven states with turnout less than 30%. The worst result was in Indiana at 28%. Even the Kansas Senate race that was given nationwide attention only had turnout of a bit less than 43%.
Another scary statistic is that the nationwide campaigns were estimated to have cost $3.67 billion. I know that there was a constant barrage of television ads for the Colorado Senate election. That one campaign had a total cost of 97 million dollars, which equates to about $50 for each vote that was cast. I will admit that the ads toward the end of the campaigning did sometimes count as entertainment. I particularly liked the one portraying a couple desperately searching for a place to buy condoms because Senatorial candidate Cory Gardner had outlawed them as part of his quest to prohibit all forms of birth control.
There have been all manner of suggestions on how to get more voters to participate. Both political parties have spent huge amounts of time and money on their get out the vote efforts. Perhaps they should think about political ads that are less insulting.