Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Counting every ballot cast in Chaffee County took until after 10:30 p.m. on election night, Nov. 3, but in the end, the unofficial voter return was everything that Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell hoped for; 90.8 percent of all active voters registered in Chaffee County turned out to vote, either with a mail-in ballot or in person.

“I voted Chaffee County” 2020 buttons and stickers await voters at the Chaffee County Courthouse ballot box. Merrell Bergin photo

Mitchell, who had set a goal of 90 percent turnout, was delighted. In her words, “While a bunch of other Colorado counties had record turnouts too, she is especially proud of the voters of Chaffee and all the counties because “Colorado is the winner” when people vote.

At the state level voter turnout was  impressive. The blended rate across all 64 counties was 78.34 percent.

Voter Turnout:          78.34%
Ballots Cast:       2,961,285
Active Voters:     3,780,115

Biden Takes Colorado Electoral Votes

With all 64 counties reporting, Coloradans cast 2,961,285 total ballots, but not everyone voted for the top of the ticket. As it turns out some 30,393 people turned in ballots without picking any presidential candidate.

There were 2,930,892 votes cast in Colorado for the presidential race. As had been projected, Joe Biden took the state, besting Trump by 410,242 voters and sealing up Colorado’s nine electoral votes.

  Chaffee                 Colorado         %

Trump    6,180         1,224,304      41.77

Biden      7,112           1,634,546      55.77

John Hickenlooper shakes hands with Chaffee Commissioner Greg Felt on a 2019 visit to Chaffee County. Photo by Jan Wondra.

Hickenlooper Sews Up Colorado Senate Seat

At the state level, what some call the most exciting news was that former Governor John Hickenlooper won his challenge for the U.S. Senate seat that has been held by Republican Cory Gardner.

Although the polls had been forecasting a victory for Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper, no celebrations ensued until the state declared Hickenlooper the presumptive winner (all results are unofficial until the state certifies the election).

                           Chaffee vote    State total                   %

Hickenlooper         6,907                 1,569,209              53.84

Gardner                   6,296                 1,28,3954              44.05

While Gardner had some real wins in the past few years championing the permanent funding of public lands and the U.S. Space command, his continuous support of Trump’s policies landed him in hot water with the state’s voters.

Commenting on the win, Hickenlooper said “I want to be that voice of small business … this is a global pandemic that we’re not going to be able to walk away from. I want to get to Washington and ask why we haven’t done more to help people.”

County Clerk Lori Mitchell and an election assistant outside the large vote tent at the Chaffee County building. Dan Smith photo

Asked how he could do what others have failed at, Hickenlooper, who’s public service as Denver Mayor and Colorado Governor has been built on bridging the gaps among disparate audiences, said, “I have to figure out where exactly [Trump’s supporters] are coming from. This country is still divided … whether we do a large ‘G’ government or a small ‘g’ government — where is the bridge? How do we get past this? Our days as a global superpower are past us if we can’t figure out a way past this.”

Gardner, for his part, was gracious in defeat. He urged his supporters and the people of Colorado to get behind Hickenlooper and help him be successful. “We all need him to be successful. Colorado needs him to succeed,” said Gardner.

For more state-level results, follow this Colorado Secretary of State election results data link:

For a closer look at Chaffee County voting results, go to:

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell with staff members inside the spacious vote tent. Dan Smith photo

Mitchell and a dedicated team of staff, election volunteers and election judges, assured that on election day, the county process ran smoothly. Early turnout had been so heavy, that according to Mitchell, election day turnout was more like normal levels for a general election.

That said, not everyone planned ahead. A young voter drove up to the voting booth in front of the Chaffee Administration building at 10 minutes to seven on election night and asked if she could still vote. Told she could, she added, ‘but can I still register?’

Assured she could register with a valid photo ID and proof of residency (because Colorado is a same-day voter registration state) she was in and out of the voting area in 10 minutes, happy that she could make her voice heard.

All election results remain “unofficial’ until the county clerks and the State of Colorado certify the election results. Our national standard is that every vote is to be counted.