County voter turnout dips slightly from the last off-year general election, but remains strong
Following the trend of past year’s elections, Eagle County continues to vote more and more blue as democratic candidates maintained a stronghold across the state in the unofficial Nov. 8 election results.
Across elections for state offices, the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as state senators and representatives, Democratic candidates won by greater margins in Eagle County than in the statewide election counts.
There’s only one exception to this. While Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Neguse claimed victory Tuesday night over Republican candidate Marshall Dawson in the race for the United States Senate seat, there was a slightly smaller winning margin in Eagle County. Neguse received nearly 62% of the 21,741 votes cast in Eagle County, compared to nearly 70% of the 248,933 statewide votes cast in the race.
As the race to represent United States House District 3 remains tight between incumbent far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert and her democratic challenger Adam Frisch on Wednesday afternoon, the vote was not close in Eagle County. With 4,066 votes cast for the race among residents living in the Roaring Fork Valley and unincorporated portions of the Eagle River Valley, nearly 72% of voters in Eagle County voted for Frisch (compared to just over 50% across the state as of Wednesday morning).
Colorado Democrats also swept in all statewide offices, with races called for Democratic incumbents Gov. Jared Polis, Attorney General Phil Weiser, Secretary of State Jena Griswold and State Treasurer Dave Young. It will be until 2026 that Colorado Republicans get another shot at these state offices.
Prior to the 2020 election, it had been 84 years since the Democrats controlled every statewide elected office, both chambers of the state legislature, both U.S. Senate seats, and the balance of the state’s U.S. House delegation. Now, with the Nov. 8 election results, this control remains sustained under the Democratic Party.
“We are ecstatic at the results from last night,” said Jennifer Filipowski, chair of the Eagle County Democrats. “People were energized and Eagle (County) voted overwhelmingly for Democratic Party candidates because the candidates that we put forward have an excellent track record of putting Colorado first and doing what’s best for all of their constituents, regardless of their party.”
Filipowski added the continued blue wave across Eagle County and Colorado demonstrates that voters are drawn to “that track record and expertise.”
Only two of the seven Eagle County races on the Nov. 8 ballot were contested: the race for sheriff between incumbent James van Beek and unaffiliated candidate Paul Agneberg as well as the race for District 3 County Commissioner between Democratic incumbent Jeanne McQueeney and Republican candidate Brian Brandl. In both, the incumbents came out on the winning side.
Filipowski attributed McQueeney’s success on Tuesday to experience.
“Jeanne’s experience and knowledge about how government works were very clear and the accomplishments that our team of county commissioners has managed to do over the course of their tenure of working together — the county is making strides, particularly with the passage of the (regional transportation authority) — is phenomenal,” Filipowski said. “I think experience matters and so does understanding the ins and outs and bringing solutions to the table as opposed to pointing fingers.”
The Eagle County Republican Central Committee declined to comment to the Vail Daily on Wednesday on the results of the election, which will be certified at a later date.
Matt Solomon, an Eagle County resident and a Republican candidate who ran for the Senate District 8 seat, conceded Wednesday morning to Democratic candidate Dylan Roberts, who has served two terms in the Colorado House.
In a Facebook post, Solomon wrote that it was “a hard fought race that ended with a disappointing outcome.”
“As we look to tomorrow, I’m grateful for the opportunity to run and I wish the best for you, this District, and our communities,” Solomon added. “I hope everyone holds Dylan and the Dems accountable for what was promised.”
In addition to voting with the majority of the state on candidate races, Eagle County also voted consistently with the state on the 11 Colorado ballot issues in the general election.
As of Wednesday morning, wins appear to be conclusive for several issues including Amendment D (judiciary amendment), Amendment E (homestead exemption for veterans and their families), Proposition GG (a change to TABOR requirements), and Proposition 121 (a reduction in the state income tax).
On the other hand, Amendment F (on charitable gaming) and Proposition 124 (increasing retail liquor licenses) are currently facing significant losses.
As of Wednesday, several issues still remain tight, while Eagle County voted more concretely on these measures.
The proposition regarding the decriminalization and regulation and certain hallucinogenic plants and fungi has a slight advantage in the state, with 51.05% of the 1,830,956 votes cast in favor. In Eagle County, voters showed much higher support with 62.17% of the 20,852 votes cast in favor.
Similarly, Eagle County showed higher support for Proposition 123, which proposes a dedicated funding source for affordable housing. In Eagle County, around 58% of the 20,548 votes cast showed favor for this fund, compared to the 1.38% advantage the measure has across the state.
This follows other trends in several Western Slope counties, which also voted in favor of the affordable housing ballot proposition. In the neighboring counties of Summit, Lake, Pitkin and Routt, voters were in majority support with 60.13%, 59.37%, 69.37%, and 56.47% of votes in favor, respectively.
While the other two liquor store-related ballot measures were conclusively decided by voters, Proposition 125, which would allow wine sales in grocery and convenience stores, remains in a stalemate on the state level. As of Wednesday, 50.17% of the 1,842,090 votes cast were against this expansion. In Eagle County, voters showed even less support for the measure, with 55.5% of the 20,882 votes against the expansion.
County election officials and judges stayed up until 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning to count all the ballots, according to County Clerk & Recorder Regina O’Brien.
“It was very busy but everything went very well,” O’Brien said. “We had a very robust turnout on election night.”
O’Brien said that on Election Day alone, the county had over 7,000 ballots returned.
“In comparison, for the whole June primary election, we had just under 9,000 ballots in total returned,” she said. “So, to have 7,000 ballots returned in one day and being able to finish tabulation early this morning was fantastic.”
In total, Eagle County is reporting a voter turnout of 66% with 22,055 ballots cast and 33,190 active voters. Comparing this to the last off-year general election in 2018, this is a slightly lower turnout. According to O’Brien, in 2018 the county had a 72% turnout for active registered voters, which she reported was “a little bit lower but still line.”
This is slightly higher than the statewide turnout, which the secretary of state’s office is currently reporting at just above 50%. However, it is in line with many of the neighboring counties, with Lake reporting 62% turnout, Pitkin reporting 69%, Routt reporting 71%, and 67% in Summit.
Earlier in the election season, texts went out to unaffiliated voters in Eagle County encouraging voters to turn in their ballots (or vote in person) on Election Day. However, it is still too soon to determine whether or not this election saw higher in-person participation, O’Brien said.
“Normally, 98.5% of voters return their mail ballot, and the other 1.5% vote in person,” she said. “We had good in-person voter turnout yesterday but I don’t know yet without being able to dig into the return data whether it was significantly different from past elections.”
Her guess, she added, is that it’s “relatively in line with past elections where the overwhelming majority of voters returned their mail ballot.”
While the county finished counting ballots early Wednesday morning, the results are still considered unofficial for another nine days as the county tabulates other votes that may come in. This includes ballots returned in other county’s drop boxes by 7 p.m. on Election Day, voters with missing signatures or signature discrepancies (they are given eight days to resolve), overseas and military voters who mailed their ballots (and which are post-marked by 7 p.m. on Election Day).
O’Brien estimated that this could result in an additional 200 ballots or so to be tabulated by the ninth day after the election.
Overall, as the election season comes to a close, Filipowski expressed optimism that “we can move past all the partisanship, divisiveness and get to work and make things happen.” “It’s great to see people involved regardless of which candidate they supported and now the hope is that we all want what’s best for our community and really hope that those same people are willing to come to the table to work together to get to work for Colorado and Eagle County,” she said.
“I encourage people to find what their passion is — if it’s transportation, if it’s education, whatever you’re passionate about — (and) attend meetings, learn about how government works, find ways to come to the table with solutions, it’s easy to point fingers and lay blame for things not getting done, but if you’ve got better ideas, great, show up and let’s get this done.”
To view the Vail Daily’s Election Night coverage and read more about specific races, visit VailDaily.com/election.