Majority of Routt County voters waited till final week to cast ballots
November 7, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Most Routt County voters had their ballots in hand by mid-October, but the vast majority of them across all age demographics waited to cast their ballots until the final week of the election period, according to a report provided Monday by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
The report indicated that 5,111 of 7,912 voters, nearly 65 percent, cast their ballots in the week leading up to Election Day on Nov. 1.
Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said that fact didn't surprise her.
"Human nature is to put things off and wait," she said Monday, adding that the delay also could be attributed to people doing their homework. "It's totally normal."
This year's active voter turnout was a record in terms of the number of ballots cast in an odd-year election. The Clerk and Recorder's Office reported that 7,826 voters cast ballots this year.
The Secretary of State's report provides the number and percentage of the 17,677 registered voters in the county who cast ballots.
The most active demographic was the group of voters 65 and older, which also was the case a week before the election. By the time Election Day came and went, more than 71 percent of registered voters in the oldest demographic had cast ballots.
Turnout decreased with age. In the 50- to 64-year-old demographic, turnout was 60.8 percent. Turnout decreased to 41.7 percent in the 35- to 49-year-old age group, and eroded even further, to 21.3 percent, in the 25- to 34-year-old demographic. The worst turnout was among the youngest voters — those 18 to 24 — of which only 16.3 percent cast ballots.
The Secretary of State's Office report also reveals that 68.3 percent of the total number of votes were cast by members of the county's two largest demographic groups — 50- to 64-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds. When including the number of ballot cast by those 65 and older, a total of 87.1 percent of voters this fall were older than 35.
"Young people just have a tendency to not be involved in the political process for whatever reason," Weinland said. "But that's not new."
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com