The Coming Turnout Tsunami

It seems obvious to say that voter turnout matters. Of course, the outcome of any election is going to be determined by who actually votes. But it’s often under appreciated just how much voter turnout can change on an annual basis, and how those changes alter the fate of candidates and ballot measures. The last two elections in Colorado are instructive. The evidence from the 2018 election in Colorado suggested a huge turn toward Democrats as they swept the statewide offices, while conservatives rightfully claimed a victory in 2019 with the defeat of Proposition CC. The difference between 2018 and 2019? Voter turnout. Over 2.5 million votes were cast in 2018 compared to over 1.5 million in 2019.

And those extra roughly 1 million voters in the 2018 election matter. They are the difference between Republicans finishing as a plurality of 34.4% of the electorate among all votes cast in 2019 and finishing in third behind Unaffiliated voters and Democrats in 2018. Those roughly 1 million voters are also the difference between voters aged 18-34 comprising only 14% of the electorate in 2019 compared to 22.5% in 2018. Clearly, those extra one million voters are younger and more Democratic-leaning. That fact alone, more than any other observation, explains why election results in Colorado can be so different from year-to-year. So what will voter turnout look like in 2020? If past presidential elections are any indication, it is very likely to be younger and more in favor of Democratic candidates than the 2018 electorate. If 2018 was a Democratic wave, then 2020 is very likely to be a tsunami.

To continue reading this story, please click (HERE):