In the ongoing battle over absentee ballots in Colorado, we’ve heard the claims about disenfranchised military voters and we’ve heard the charges about partisanship.
Unfortunately, what we haven’t heard is some hard factual information that compares ballot return rates among active and inactive voters. Andrew Cole, spokesperson for Secretary of State Scott Gessler is quoted as saying “there were thousands of ballots mailed out to inactive voters in 2010 that were unaccounted for.”
I’ve tried to answer this question at the Denver County elections office. Total registration, active and inactive, was 297,558 according to the spreadsheet available here: Of that total, 22,696 are “Inactive – Fail to vote”, or 7.63% of the total.
The number of mail ballots issued was 160,363, of which 121, 538 were returned and verified. 128,997 mail ballots were returned in total, leaving 31,366 total outstanding unreturned mail ballots, or 19.55% of the total.