Live Blog: Colorado Election Day 2018 As It Happened

<p>(Corey Jones/For CPR News)</p>
<p><span style="color: rgb(64, 69, 64);">Voters cast ballots at the Englewood Civic Center on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.</span></p>


10:19 p.m. — That's It For Live Updates, Folks...
Thanks for riding shotgun with us tonight. We're wrapping it up for the evening, but we want to leave you with the biggest takeaways for the 2018 Midterms:

9:57 p.m. — Amendment X, Industrial Hemp Definition: APPROVED

9:53 p.m. — Amendment 74, Just Compensation For Government Takings: REJECTED

9:50 p.m. — Proposition 110, "Let's Go Colorado" Transportation Funding: REJECTED

9:30 p.m. — Proposition 112, Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas: REJECTED
Proposition 112 would have required that new wells be at least 2,500 feet from occupied buildings and "vulnerable areas" such as parks, creeks and irrigation canals. It also would have allowed local governments to require even bigger buffer zones.

Groups backed by the energy industry pointed to a state analysis that determined the measure would make 85 percent of non-federal land in Colorado off-limits to drilling.

Supporters of the measure say the stricter rules will better protect people and the environment. The state currently requires wells be 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.

9:27 p.m. — Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams Concedes
Democrat Jena Griswold defeated incumbent Republican Wayne Williams in Colorado's Secretary of State race.

She made Williams’ compliance with the Trump administration’s request for voter data a central point of her campaign. The president’s commission set out to investigate alleged voter fraud, and was met with resistance from more than a dozen states after it asked for voter files. Williams turned over Colorado’s data, saying he was required by law to do that.

Griswold criticized Williams, saying he should would not have cooperated with a inquiry that was “simply a guise to chill voter participation, disenfranchise voters, and limit our constitutional rights.”

SOS Wayne Williams conceding race. "Jena Griswald is inheriting the finest Secretary of State's Office in the country." #COpolitics

9:13 p.m. — Amendment Y & Z, Congressional And Legislative Redistricting: APPROVED

9:12 p.m. — Amendment V, Lower Age Requirement For State Legislature: REJECTED

9:03 p.m. — Proposition 111, Limits on Payday Loan Charges: APPROVED

9:02 p.m. — Proposition 109, "Fix Our Damn Roads": REJECTED
Proposition 109 would have directed the Colorado Department of Transportation to issue $3.5 billion in bonds for more than 60 road work projects across the state.

The ballot measure was one of two relating to roads and transportation this year.

9:01 p.m. — Amendment 75, Raising Campaign Contribution Limits: REJECTED

8:49 p.m. — Amendment 73, Tax Increase For Public Education: REJECTED
Amendment 73 would have increased the state individual income tax rate for people who earn more than $150,000 a year and boosted the corporate income tax rate to raise an additional $1.6 billion annually for schools.

The proposal was defeated Tuesday in a state that has typically been averse to raising taxes. Voters rejected similar measures in 2011 and 2013 by a 2-to-1 margin.

8:47 p.m. — Amendment A, Prohibition Of Slavery And Involuntary Servitude: APPROVED

8:41 p.m. — DeGette Wins Re-Election
Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette has won re-election to her 12th congressional term.

DeGette defeated Republican businessman Casper Stockholm on Tuesday in Colorado's liberal 1st Congressional District, centered in Denver. DeGette was first elected to Congress in 1996. She previously was a state lawmaker.

You can read the latest on the Congressional races here.

8:37 p.m. — Democrat Joe Neguse Wins CD2
Democrat Joe Neguse has won the Colorado congressional seat being vacated by Democrat Jared Polis — who is now the governor of Colorado.

Neguse defeated Republican Peter Yu in the 2nd Congressional District that includes Boulder, Fort Collins and parts of north-central Colorado. He becomes Colorado's first African-American member of Congress. Neguse is the son of immigrants from the African country of Eritrea.

8:33 p.m. — Tipton Wins
Colorado Republican Rep. Scott Tipton has been re-elected to Congress, defeating Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush to win his fifth term.

Tipton previously survived Democratic challenges in a district that used to vote Democratic but is increasingly Republican. The 3rd Congressional District extends from Pueblo to the Western Slope.

Bush argued that Tipton was influenced to energy interests. Tipton argued that Mitsch Bush would kill rural jobs with her environmental proposals, and he tied her to national Democrats.

8:22 p.m. — Crow Wins The 6th
First-time Democratic candidate Jason Crow has defeated five-term Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the competitive 6th District.

Crow, a former U.S. Army Ranger, was the national Democrats' choice to take on Coffman. He won Tuesday after outspending the incumbent, who lost TV ad spending from the national Republican Party in the campaign's final weeks.

Until Tuesday night, Coffman, himself an Army and Marine veteran, had repeatedly won in a district that has increasingly turned Democratic. Crow represented his toughest challenge yet.

Coffman represented Colorado's 6th Congressional District since 2009 and served twice in Iraq. Crow served in Iran and Afghanistan.

8:14 p.m. — Republican Rep. Mike Coffman Concedes

Mike Coffman is conceding now. Says he has embraced and cherished the diversity of CD6.

Big message? "I knew if this race was nationalized as a referedum on the President, I could not win. In the end, this was a referedum on the President." #copolitics

8:06 p.m. — Republican Walker Stapleton Has Conceded
Listen to his concession speech and read the latest here.

I have spoken to Congressman Polis and congratulated him on his victory. It is time for everyone to come together and work for the good of Colorado. Thank you to everyone for your support throughout this campaign.

7:45 p.m. — Buck Wins
Republican Rep. Ken Buck has been re-elected to Congress.

Buck defeated Democrat Karen McCormick, a veterinarian, in the 4th Congressional District. He will serve a third term in a strongly Republican district that stretches from northern parts of the state across the eastern Plains and into suburban Douglas County.

He is a former Weld County district attorney who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2010. Buck was first elected to the House in 2014.

7:36 p.m. — Lamborn Wins
Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has been re-elected to Congress, Democrat Stephany Rose Spaulding.

This will be Lamborn's seventh term. His 5th Congressional District is centered in Colorado Springs and is heavily Republican.​

Lamborn's political career almost ended in April when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled he couldn't appear on the Republican primary ballot for technical reasons. A federal judge quickly allowed Lamborn back on the ballot, and he won the GOP primary.

7:29 p.m. — Perlmutter Wins
Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has won a seventh term in Congress, defeating Republican Mark Barrington.

In 2017, Perlmutter entered Colorado's Democratic race for governor, saying he could do more for the state in the governor's seat than in Washington. He abandoned that bid after fellow Rep. Jared Polis entered the race. Polis is independently wealthy and self-financed his campaign against Republican Walker Stapleton.

Perlmutter initially said it'd be unfair to run for re-election to Congress since three other Democratic politicians were already competing for his seat. He later reversed himself

7:24 p.m. — Return Counts Are Under Way And Our First Race Call...
AP has called the 7th Congressional District for Democrat Ed Perlmutter. Right now, 28 percent of the ballots statewide have been counted. Check results here.

7:12 p.m. — Early Returns...

Early Colorado ballot measure results #copolitics


7:05 p.m. — Will Voters Back Prop 112?

More reporters than #prop112 supporters so far at the pro 112 watch party. Follow me for reaction on 112 and 74 as we track results, talk to all sides #Copolitics

7:00 p.m. — The Polls Are Closed
Stand by for results...

6:56 p.m. — The Latest Ballot Returns
The Secretary of State says 2,217,895 ballots are in. Unaffiliated voters now outpace Republicans, 728,004 vs. 725,464.

6:30 p.m. — Hickenlooper Is On Site

Hickenlooper has arrived at the Democratic watch party, surrounded by press.

6:13 p.m. — The Latest Ballot Returns
The Colorado Secretary of State says 2,133,397 ballots have been collected. That number outstrips the total turnout of the 2014 midterms — and the polls still have an hour to go in Colorado. In 2014, 2,075,837 voters were cast in the general election.

For a comparison, the turnout in the 2016 Presidential Election was 2,855,960 in Colorado.

Here's the breakdown for tonight's update before the polls close:

  • Democrats: 709,301
  • Republicans: 700,697
  • Unaffiliated: 693,669

5:33 p.m. — National Results Are Starting To Trickle In
A bit of housekeeping, if you are interested in how the national election fares, check in with the NPR Election Night Live Blog here. We've also added a national balance of power graphic above.

4:54 p.m. — More From Voters Leaving The Polls
Carly Everett admits she's "really nervous" about an election she said is less about politicians and more about decency and civility.

"I want love to win again over hate, but that's not why I voted mostly Democrat," said the 24-year-old from Littleton. "It's about Donald Trump, and a lot of bad things going on right now are about him."

Everett is an independent voter and spoke after casting her vote at Red Rocks Baptist Church in Morrison on Tuesday. The president’s conduct and rhetoric has been a big turn-off for her — and left her nervous about tonight’s outcome.

"I'm hoping I wake up tomorrow to some good news," she said.

Heading further south from Morrison, Douglas County voters Cayla Cappello and Kelsey Bradshaw carpooled to cast their vote today.

“We were talking about this on the car ride over, ‘bout how everybody has gotten a lot more excited and impassioned about voting in general for this election,” Cappello said. “Basically, just showing up and making our voices count.”

Artemis Bodor, 68, is among those DougCO voters ensuring their voice is heard. You can consider her an old school voter, eschewing the mail-in ballot for the satisfaction of voting in person.

“Number one, I like to show up at the polls and get into the booth. I like the ritual of it,” she said. “And I always have since I started voting when I was 18 and I don't think I've missed any elections since then.”

Artemis Bodor told me she got teary-eyed while filling out her ballot. She says it might be some kind of post-traumatic stress from the last election.

Bodor is particularly invested in the race for a new Colorado governor and chose Congressman Jared Polis. She doesn’t often vote party line, but the divisiveness nationally has "given her no other choice." - AP and Natalia Navarro, reporting

4:20 p.m. — Mysteries Of The Drop-Off Box
We all know Coloradans really like to vote. But sometimes those ubiquitous ballot drop-off boxes get jammed up before county election workers can empty them — like this scene from Highlands Ranch over the weekend.

If you’re curious, you can see the ballots jammed in the box. That was about an hour ago. A stream of cars came through while I was there.

For clerks, especially in geographically spacious counties, the decision on when to empty the boxes can be tricky. It takes time and money to send workers to out to check them and if there aren’t any ballots in a far-flung box, that can amount to a wasted trip.

The Arapahoe County clerk is piloting a solution, though, seen here at the county’s election processing facility on south Federal Boulevard in Littleton.

Photo: Election Day 2018 | Arapahoe Automated Ballot Drop-Off Box - NMinor
This ballot box is equipped with a solar-powered computer that counts each ballot as it is dropped off — and then relays that info back to county staff to let them know when it is stuffed.

Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane hopes to expand that across the county, which stretches 70 miles from Littleton east to Deer Trail and beyond. "If there isn't a ballot in the box in Deer Trail, wouldn't it be nice to not have to send election judges out there?" he said.

Crane said that data could also be used to help with post-election audits, and to help make decisions about where ballots boxes should go.

"There's nothing else like this in the country,” Crane said. - Nathaniel Minor, reporting

4:07 p.m. — Sharing The "Youth Vote"

Nathan Hoag picked up his daughter Mia, 4, from school on his way to drop off his ballot. He says he wants to show her that being politically active is important and that he’s voting with future generations in mind.

3:59 p.m. — The Oil & Gas Ballot Fight
Bruce Holamon, a 53-year-old from Greeley, said he had his neighbors in mind when he voted against Proposition 112 — the proposal that looks to back drilling up 2,500 feet from homes and “vulnerable areas.”

Holamon said after voting in Greeley Tuesday that he's worried 112 will hurt jobs and tax revenue in Weld County and elsewhere in Colorado.

"I'd guess a quarter of our neighborhood works in the industry and it was a big concern for them," he said.

Holamon doesn't work in oil or gas. But he noted that his college-age kids have benefited. They've received Bright Futures scholarships that are funded by taxpayers, including energy firms. Holamon usually votes for Republican candidates and happily backed Walker Stapleton for governor. He said he's concerned taxes would go up if Democrat Jared Polis is elected. - AP, reporting

3:16 p.m. — What The President Is Up To
President Donald Trump is spending Election Day calling allies, tweeting endorsements and following news coverage, after concluding a six-day rally blitz in Missouri late Monday.

Trump packed his closing argument with hardline immigration rhetoric and harsh attacks on Democrats as he stared down the prospect of Republican losses that could shadow his presidency.

Faced with the possibility of keeping the Senate but losing the House, aides have begun laying out the political reality to Trump, who could face an onslaught of Democratic-run investigations and paralysis of his policy agenda.

Trump has already been trying out defensive arguments, noting that midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House, pointing out a high number of GOP retirements and stressing that he has kept his focus on the Senate.

Circling back to Colorado Springs, Trump voter Mindi Lindscombe dropped her ballot off at the Chapel Hills Mall with her young daughter in tow. For her, the current administration has been great for Something New Bridal Boutique, her business.

“I really like how the economy is right now and I know some people are not a fan of Trump,” Lindscombe said. “But honestly, I'm a big fan, because as a small business owner we have seen our business grow and it's been incredible. Our business has never been doing better.” - The Associated Press and Hayley Sanchez, reporting

2:55 p.m. — The Latest Ballot Returns
The latest numbers from the Secretary of State's office say 2,062,777 ballots have been collected. There's still about 4 hours to go until polls close.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Democrats: 689,238
  • Republicans: 679,685
  • Unaffiliated: 665,669

2:43 p.m. — Let’s Talk About Campaign Finance
No matter the outcome of this election, TV stations and the political consultant industry are the real winners. Total campaign contributions topped $228 million through Oct. 31 in Colorado this election season

That’s a record.

As anyone who’s on the grid in Colorado knows, more than half the expenditures this cycle went to advertising: $120 million. TV, radio, social media are saturated. Political consultants pulled in $49 million, according to state records.

About a third of contributions came from out-of-state, with much of that money coming from groups headquartered in D.C.: folks like the liberal dark money group Sixteen Thirty Fund, Republican Governors and Attorneys General Association, unions and environmental groups.

Chart: Election Day 2018 | Out Of State Chart For Live Blog

Interestingly, Democrats are beating Republicans in direct contributions in statewide races and state senate races. In the Attorney General’s race, Democrat Phil Weiser has about a 3 to 1 advantage. In the state senate, a few swing districts have garnered the most money and Democrats have a 4 to 1 and 2 to 1 advantage in those races. That’s an abnormal advantage for Democrats based on the last two election cycles.

Nationally, Dems have been raking in the cash in both Senate and House races. - Ben Markus, reporting

Chart: Election Day 2018 | State Senate Races Chart For Live Blog

2:20 p.m. — How Voters Are Feeling (Change And Procrastination Edition)
There's been a steady stream of voters today at the Denver Election Division office.

Amy Wessman, who calls herself a political science nerd, votes in every election, but today she votes for one reason: “I think there needs to be some change. I'm disappointed in the current administration and I think there needs to be some new fresh blood and energy in our politics these days. It's my responsibility to do it.”

Even though most Coloradans have had ballots in hand since early October, there’s something to be said about a deadline. Remember those days in school where you didn’t study for that exam until the day before, or even just the day of? Yeah, same motivation.

Anton Espinoza of Denver knows that feeling well. He dropped off a friend's ballot at the elections division — but not his own.

“You know what, I'm one of the last minute guys. So... This ballot right here, I was dropping off for the hotdog lady because she knows I work here,” Espinoza said. “But as soon as I get off work today, then I'm going to take mine home. I haven't had a chance look over a lot of the stuff. But I'll probably be getting together with my lady and going over it real close.”

At this point, there’s about five hours to go until the deadline. Ballots must be in by 7 p.m. – Natalia Navarro, reporting

1:53 p.m. — Election Minutiae: How Many States Have Mail Balloting?
Impress your friends with some nifty election trivia. Just remember: It's too late to return ballots by mail. You must drop off your ballot today at a voter center or drop-off box.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states and the District of Columbia offer some type of early voting, and 27 states and D.C. offer "no-excuse" absentee voting. While more than 20 states allow certain elections to be held by mail, only Washington, Oregon and Colorado conduct all elections exclusively by mail.

1:11 p.m. — Even More Ballot Returns
The SOS' office has just released another update to the voter totals: 1,983,292 ballots have been collected.

12:34 p.m. — Latest Ballot Returns
The Secretary of State says 1,905,939 ballots have been collected as of 10:34 a.m. Nearly half of voters have cast ballots so far in this year's midterm elections. The state's voters are roughly divided among the Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated categories. Unaffiliated voters are the largest group with about 1.3 million people.

Here's the party breakdown:

  • Democrats: 640,745
  • Republicans: 636,165
  • Unaffiliated: 604,165

12:12 p.m. — Meet Some Of Your Fellow Voters
Voters have until 7 p.m. tonight to bring their ballots to a drop-off box or a voting center. You can also vote in person at a voting center but must provide identification. Here are some of the voters we've met at polls across the state this morning.

11:00 a.m. — A Burning Question

As long as you're in the #ElectionDay zone, here's a poll for you to vote in:

Which do you prefer? vs.

Dog and cat voting pics welcome.

10:43 a.m. — Ballot Return Insights
According to a breakdown by Magellan Strategies, Republicans are trailing their 2014 midterm returns by 19,213 ballots. On the other hand, the trends are enormously positive for ballot returns for Democrats and Unaffiliated voters. Both lead their 2014 trends by 104,864 and 157,004 votes respectively.

Colorado Republican Party chairman Jeff Hays issued a call Tuesday to members of his party to vote or risk surrendering Colorado to what he called "the most radical Democrats" ever put forward by their party.

Overall, the ballot total as of the 12:34 a.m. update from the Secretary of State shows Colorado well ahead of 2014 — up 15 percent so far.

Magellan notes that the 18-34 youth vote is running ahead of 2014 by 88,873 votes. We’ll keep an eye on ballot returns and update as new numbers are released by the state.

10:21 a.m. — Get Out To Vote
Here’s a quick public service reminder: It's too late to return ballots by mail.

You have to drop them off — or vote old school in person — at any voter service and polling center. Election worker Michael Michalek said the traffic has been steady at the ballot drop-off at the Denver City and County building this morning with voters walking, driving and some biking in true Colorado fashion.

Kai Eldredge, among the few on bicycles, said she votes in every election: “It’s our civic duty to vote.”

Kai Eldredge recently started biking her commute to school so she biked to the polls!

In Colorado Springs, the drop-off by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office and the DMV on the northeast side of town has also seen steady morning traffic. Dropping off his ballot, Colorado native Tim McKinney hoped for the oft-talked about “blue wave.” His critical issues on the ballot were oil and gas setbacks and transportation and education funding.

“The overall direction of the country,” McKinney said. “I would like to see a lot of people get out and vote... We need to do something.” – Natalia Navarro and Hayley Sanchez, reporting

9:58 a.m. — It’s GAME DAY For The Secretary Of State
Republican Wayne Williams, Colorado’s Secretary Of State, may be up for re-election but there’s no rest for the weary for him today. The SOS oversees the elections and Colorado has a reputation for solid election security to uphold.

Thanks to @CONG1860 and others for joining our "war room" on Election Day. We appreciate the input from our many partners committed to election security. #COpolitics

David Becker, executive director for the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research in Washington, D.C. credits the state’s mail-in system, the use of paper ballots and post-election audits for the reputation. Curious how Colorado arrived at this particular point? While no system is perfect, here’s a short history of how the state arrived as the “safest” place to cast your ballot.

9:22 a.m. — Morning Campaigning With Stapleton
Walker Stapleton, the Republican candidate for governor, got his election day off to an early start. At 7 a.m., the current state treasure was out waving signs on a street corner in suburban Centennial. He was joined by Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, who's facing a tough challenger in Democrat Jason Crow.

Stapleton remains optimistic down the final stretch. Polls put him anywhere from 5 to 12 points behind his Democratic opponent, Congressman Jared Polis. The election forecasters at FiveThirtyEight give him just a five percent chance of winning.

Stapleton told Fox21 in Colorado Springs that he's undaunted by those odds. "If their predictions were accurate Hillary Clinton would be president. If I had believed the polls I never would've been the Treasurer of Colorado," he said. - Sam Brasch, reporting

9 a.m. — Latest Returns
The Colorado Secretary of State reports that 1,853,103 ballots are in, as of this morning. About 70,000 more women have voted than men. People ages 41-60 are by far the largest voting bloc in terms of age. Democrats slightly ahead of Republicans. Unaffiliated voters close behind. - Rachel Estabrook, reporting

8:53 a.m. — Hockey Votes
Former DU Pioneer hockey star and Avalanche player Mark Rycroft became a U.S. citizen (he was Canadian) and voted Monday.

"Last Monday I became an American Citizen. Today I voted for the 1st time ever. Thank you USA," he said on Twitter, adding later, "Appreciate all the kind words tonight. Incase anyone was wondering, the entire process took 10 years. From Visa’s to interm travel Documents to a Green Card to Citizenship. It is quite the journey. But all worth it to be American."

8:35 a.m.
See the timestamp there on the left? Denver Elections suggests anyone posting to social media from a polling place to talk about crowds — or no crowds — should do the same so that your followers can see how current the information is.

Steady start to #ElectionDay @DenverElections. #Protip from @altond2 to @CoCtyClerks if you put on social that you have VSPCs with no waits, make sure to time stamp them as of 1pm, 4pm etc. so if retweeted later voters can tell that it is old information.

7:00 a.m. — Polls Are Open
Good Morning and welcome to Election Day 2018. Colorado's polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight. If you are voting with your mail ballot be sure to drop it off before the polls close. As of Monday, 1,514,817 ballots have been returned. Be sure your vote counts.

Here are the tips you need to successfully practice democracy today:

There's probably one last burning question you have to ask and may be embarrassed about. YES, ballot selfies are A-OK.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed that new election tidbit into law last March, so you can pose with your ballot — even a completed one. However, you can't use that image to get anything of value. No trading that selfie for a free slice of pizza or monetary benefit.

The race for governor is the highlight race for today: Democratic Rep. Jared Polis and Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton are vying to succeed a term-limited Hickenlooper.

Polis vows to strengthen the Barack Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Stapleton wants more market-driven health insurance coverage. Stapleton defends Colorado's strict limits on taxes and spending and argues Polis is promising increased school investment without a clear plan to pay for it.

It'll be up to voters to decide which approach Colorado should take.

Beyond the choice of who will be the next head of the state, the midterms are shaping up to steer how business will get done in the second half of President Donald Trump's term. Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is battling off a strong challenge in a race that is seen as part of the Democrat's hope to take control of the House.

Polls and history suggest the Democrats are in a solid position. Only three times since the Civil War has the incumbent president's party not lost seats in the lower chamber in the midterm elections. The Republican Party is likely to hold the Senate.

CPR's Jim Hill, Nathaniel Minor, Hart Van Denburg, Alex Scoville and The Associated Press contributed to this report.