By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – A day after the most watched presidential debate in history, Colorado is marking National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday.
Eighty-seven percent of voters in Colorado are registered to vote, which is the highest percentage of any state in the country.
Denver Elections set up a tent in Civic Center Park to mark the day. It’s seen more than 1,000 new registrations in just the last 24 hours and 300 submissions alone from when the presidential debate ended Monday about 8:30 p.m. until midnight.
“We’re seeing a spike because there is a segment of people who only vote in presidential elections, so because of all the things going on nationally, people are tuning in to the process more. Of course, at Denver Elections we think all elections are important,” said Alton Dillard with the Elections Division.
“I follow a local Twitter account here in Denver and it said, ‘Come down to Civic Center Park and register,’ and I wasn’t sure if I was registered, so I just came down to check,” said David Herman, who admits he typically doesn’t vote. “I just feel like this is something I need to do this year. They say if you don’t vote … you can’t complain… so just making sure my voice is heard.”
He’s not alone. The number of active voters in Colorado is up 125,000 over 2014. The Democratic Party is seeing the most growth. There are nearly 80,000 more active Democrats in the last couple years and just 27,000 more Republicans. Republicans still outnumber Democrats, but by less than 2,000 voters.
Despite the two most unpopular presidential candidates in history, Secretary of State Wayne Williams says Coloradans are motivated to vote.
“You see that excitement from people, some of whom haven’t been that excited before, and some people are excited against a particular candidate on either side,” Williams said.
He says voter turnout is always higher in presidential years and, in a state as divided as Colorado, every vote counts.
“We’ve had statewide races decided by just over 100 votes, and so your vote could very well make the difference. In school board races decided by single vote,” Williams said.
Facebook is also helping to boost registration numbers. It posted a registration reminder on its news feed Friday and statewide there were 14,000 new and updated registrations compared to just 3,000 during the same period Thursday.
Mail ballots go out in a little over three weeks.
If you haven’t registered or need to change your address, you can text the word Colorado or CO to 2VOTE.
Find more events online for National Voter Registration Day.