By Lauren DiSpirito

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – National and Colorado Republican Party leaders announced Tuesday a new push to attract votes from veterans who may not otherwise be planning to cast a ballot in the 2016 election.

The effort, called the #GOPVets Task Force, is aimed at recruiting veterans to encourage their peers to register to vote.

State GOP leaders estimate 19 percent of veterans living in Colorado are not registered to vote. Task Force Chair Chris Paulson said that adds up to more than 70,000 Republicans could bring to their party.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Aurora on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Aurora on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

During a launch event at the Arapahoe County GOP office in Aurora, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, joined Paulson in asking leaders to help the party reach veterans.

“We need to get more veterans involved in the political process,” Coffman said. “To get them registered to vote, and to get them to vote.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Aurora on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Aurora on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House says with the amount of time left until the election, gaining the support of even just 10,000 to 20,000 of the currently unregistered veterans across the state could make a big impact for the Republican Party.

“There’s an election ahead of us that might be decided by as few as 20, 30, 40,000 votes,” House said. “They can play a critical role in making the choice of who our next leader can be.”

Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House is interviewed by CBS4's Lauren DiSpirito (credit: CBS)

Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House is interviewed by CBS4’s Lauren DiSpirito (credit: CBS)

George Horgan, a veteran who runs Vets Helping Vets, Inc. in Northglenn, agrees more veterans should vote, but thinks recent problems, like funding issues and construction delays at a new VA hospital in Aurora will make convincing them to register a tough sell.

“Veterans feel like their voice isn’t being heard,” Horgan said. “They think, ‘Why should I even bother?'”

Lauren DiSpirito is CBS4’s Northern Newsroom reporter. Follow her on Twitter @CBS4Lauren. Share your story ideas with her here.

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