Colorado 2022 Elections: Live blog, results and updates

· Nov. 8, 2022, 7:13 am
Gov. Jared Polis addresses supporters on election night after winning a second term in office. Nov. 8, 2022.Gov. Jared Polis addresses supporters on election night after winning a second term in office. Nov. 8, 2022.Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Gov. Jared Polis addresses supporters on election night after winning a second term in office. Nov. 8, 2022.

1:55 p.m.: Who is Adam Frisch?

Democratic challenger Adam Frisch held a small lead all evening and into the next day over hardline conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert, proving to be a tougher-than-expected opponent in her reelection race.

They're vying to represent the 3rd Congressional District that includes parts of western and southern Colorado. The latest election results show Frisch with just over 50 percent of the vote and Boebert at just over 49 percent.

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

11:00 a.m., November 9: It's a new day

Good morning! Not much happened overnight. The race for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District is still too close to call. It's the same for Colorado's newest congressional district, the 8th. Incumbent state treasurer Dave Young won his reelection campaign over Republican challenger Lang Sias.

But overall, Republicans appear to have failed in their mission to regain some power in Colorado’s state legislature. My colleague Andrew Kenney wrote about how the party had hoped to retake control of the state Senate and gain significant influence over Democrats’ agenda. But early results show that they’ve made few, if any, gains in the chamber.

Meanwhile, the governorship and state House will remain in Democratic control.

Read Andrew's full story here.

— Sarah Bures

1:15 a.m. Good night, and see you tomorrow

Thanks for joining us on this election night. Here in the CPR News newsroom, we are winding down, but we will be back tomorrow with more updates as they come in. 

As for tonight, results have slowed to a trickle and many counties won’t be done counting the ballots until Wednesday or possibly later. The Democrats had some big wins in state races. Here is what we know and what we don’t know yet.

What we know:

What we don’t know yet, or races that are too close to call or haven’t been called:

As those results come in, we'll have stories about them on CPR and we will send out email updates. Sign up for the Lookout email list to get those alerts and our daily email newsletter.

And if you're in Denver, you'll want to get alerts from Denverite as well.

Good night.

— Alison Borden and Sarah Bures

1:11 p.m.: Who will represent Colorado’s 8th Congressional District? You’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out

The race for Colorado’s new eighth congressional district is coming down to the wire, with only a few thousand votes separating the leading candidates.. 

Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer and Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo are locked in a close race for the highly competitive seat created by last year’s redistricting process.

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

12:05 a.m.: Colorado Springs voters appear to decide against legalizing recreational marijuana sales

Colorado Springs residents appear to have voted down a ballot measure that would have allowed the sale of recreational marijuana within city limits. The ballot measure, if rejected, would reaffirm the city’s hostility toward the decade-old industry.

Late Tuesday night, voters were rejecting recreational cannabis sales in Colorado Springs by a sizable margin.

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

11:55 p.m.: As the night winds down, this is where Colorado's ballot measures stand

Though no measure has yet been officially declared passed or failed, my colleague Megan Verlee wrote a round-up on all of the major amendments and where they stand. You can read that story here.

— Sarah Bures

11:30 p.m.: The race for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District is too close to call

Hardline conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert is facing a tougher-than-expected reelection race, with her Democratic challenger, Adam Frisch, holding a small lead all evening.

Boebert went into the race in a strong position. Redistricting solidified the 3rd congressional district’s red lean, with a 9-point advantage for Republicans. And unlike most of the Colorado delegation, she had the advantage of national name recognition and about $2 million in campaign cash.

Still, while many votes remain to be counted, she has been underperforming in counties, while Frisch has been overperforming, compared to the 2020 results.

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

10:30 p.m. Photos from the Republican watch party in Greenwood Village

My colleague Hart Van Denburg has been at the Republican election watch party at the Hilton DoubleTree hotel in Greenwood Village this evening. Here are some photos he took:

Colorado Republican candidate for Secretary of State Pam Anderson concedes defeat on Election Day night, Nov. 8, 2022, during g a GOP watch party at the Hilton DoubleTree hotel ballroom in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village.
Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, accompanied by his wife Celeste, tells supporters he called his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, to concede defeat on Election Day night, Nov. 8, 2022.
Colorado Republican U.S. House candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer and supporters watch Election Day returns on her phone on Election Day night, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Hilton DoubleTree hotel ballroom in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village. At the time, the outcome of her race against Democrat Yadira Caraveo was not known.

— Sarah Bures

10:21 p.m.: Phil Weiser wins a second term as Colorado attorney general

Democratic State Attorney General Phil Weiser has won a second term beating Republican Arapahoe County District Attorney John Kellner in a race that was defined by the state’s divisions about public safety and abortion rights.

Kellner conceded the race on Tuesday, saying in a speech that he made “inroads in this state that may be easy to overlook.”

The Associated Press has not yet called the race, but as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Weiser led Kellner by more than 10 percentage points with 54.4 percent of the total votes cast. 

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

10:10 p.m.: Democrat Jena Griswold wins second term

Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold has won reelection to a second term in office, defeating Republican Pam Anderson, a former Jefferson county clerk and recorder, by a healthy margin with 55 percent of the vote.

While the Associated Press has not yet called the race as of 10 p.m., Anderson took to the stage at the GOP watch party earlier tonight to concede.

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

9:48 p.m.: Photos from the Democratic election watch party in Denver

My colleague Kevin J. Beaty has been at the Democratic election watch party in Denver. Here are some pictures he took:

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Jason Crow addresses the crowd gathered at Art Hotel in Denver for the Democratic election watch party. Crow won reelection to U.S. House in Colorado's 6th Congressional District
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Gov. Jared Polis at Democratic election watch party at the Art Hotel in Denver after being elected to a second term as Colorado governor.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Sen. Michael Bennet addresses the crowds gathered at Art Hotel in Denver. Bennet was reelected to his Senate seat.

— Sarah Bures

9:34 p.m.: The race for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District

In a surprising show of results, Democratic challenger Adam Frisch is currently leading the 3rd Congressional District race over incumbent Lauren Boebert by about 9,000 votes. The most recent updates show Frisch at 125,476 and Boebert at 116,272. Late votes are trending toward Boebert, according to public affairs reporter Andrew Kenney.

— Stephanie Rivera

9:22 p.m.: GOP candidates Lang Sias and John Kellner concede

My colleague Bente Birkeland is at the GOP election watch party in Greenwood Village. Though these races have not yet been called, Bente said that Lang Sias, candidate for treasurer, and John Kellner, GOP candidate for Attorney General, both delivered concession speeches. "We made some inroads in this state that may be easy to overlook." Kellner told the crowd. "We changed a lot of hearts and minds."

— Sarah Bures

9:17 p.m.: Brittany Pettersen wins U.S. House seat in Colorado's 7th Congressional District

Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen will be the next congressperson for the district that now spans from the Denver suburbs of Jefferson County south to Custer County.

Read our full story here.

— Sarah Bures

9:12 p.m.: Colorado Secretary of State race

Though the race has not yet been called, Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Pam Anderson, has conceded to Democrat incumbent Jena Griswold, my colleague Bente Birkeland tweeted:

— Sarah Bures

9:10 p.m.: Jason Crow wins reelection to U.S. House in Colorado's 6th Congressional District

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Jason Crow has won reelection. He will represent the 6th Congressional District for a third term after defeating Republican challenger Steven Monahan.

— Sarah Bures

9:07 p.m.: Doug Lamborn wins reelection to U.S. House in Colorado's 5th Congressional District

Incumbent Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has won reelection. He will represent the 5th Congressional District for a ninth term after defeating Democratic challenger David Torres.

— Sarah Bures

9:03 p.m.: Ken Buck wins reelection to U.S. House in Colorado's 4th Congressional District

Incumbent Republican Rep. Ken Buck has won reelection. He will represent the 4th Congressional District for a fifth term after defeating Democratic challenger Ike McCorkle.

— Sarah Bures

9:01 p.m.: Joe Neguse wins reelection to U.S. House in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse has won reelection. He will represent the 2nd Congressional District for a third term after defeating Republican challenger Marshall Dawson.

— Sarah Bures

8:57 p.m.: Diana DeGette wins reelection to U.S. House in Colorado's 1st Congressional District

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Diana Degette has won reelection. She will represent the 1st Congressional District for her 14th term in Congress after defeating Republican challenger Jennifer Qualteri.

— Sarah Bures

8:40 p.m.: Heidi Ganahl concedes

Republican candidate for governor, Heidi Ganahl, released a statement conceding to Jared Polis, who won a second term as Colorado's governor. Here's the statement:

"Tonight did not go the way we had hoped and prayed for, but I know this movement is real. This Mom on a Mission is proud to have given a voice to the army of mad moms, dads, and grandparents of Colorado who are scared about what the future of our beautiful state holds for our kids and grandkids.

Gov. Polis, I wish you well, and my prayers will be with you. This election is over, but our problems are not. Crime in Colorado is real. Record inflation is real. The state of our education system is real. Please do not ignore the cries of help from so many in our state. I implore you to be a governor for all Coloradans, and to seek consensus with those of us on the other side of the aisle, even when that may not be easy.

In scripture, we are told: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5

I am a fighter. I’m not sure what my next chapter will be, but I promise I will never stop fighting for the American Dream I have been so blessed to live, and for Colorado families – so many of whom are struggling right now. You have a voice. Make sure those in power understand that the many decisions that they believe should occur in Denver should really be made at the kitchen table; Colorado parents and families matter.

Thank you to my supporters, volunteers, staff, my running mate Danny Moore, and my family for taking this journey with me. May God continue to bless you all and may God bless our home, Colorado"

— Sarah Bures

8:34 p.m.: Stay up-to-date on all Colorado news

You can keep track of the election on the CPR News Election Dashboard, but we'll also email you when big things happen tonight. You're going to want to get those email alerts — the Lookout email list is the place to start.

And if you're in Denver, you'll want to get alerts from Denverite as well.

— Sarah Bures

8:20 p.m.: Lauren Boebert's watch party

My colleague Stina Sieg is at Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert's election watch party in Grand Junction. With the race yet to be called, Stina says the mood is subdued but not dour. "It's just not full-on party time," she wrote on Twitter.

— Sarah Bures

8:15 p.m.: Democrat Michael Bennet has won reelection to U.S. Senate

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet beat back a challenge from Republican businessman Joe O’Dea, who broke with Donald Trump, defended the 2020 election and took relatively moderate positions on abortion rights and same sex marriage.

The race tightened in recent weeks, but despite economic headwinds favoring Republicans, O’Dea could not overcome Bennet’s fundraising advantage or the changing demographics of Colorado, which have seen the state go ever bluer in recent elections.

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

8:06 p.m.: Gov. Polis delivers victory speech

Shortly before the Associated Press called the race for Colorado governor and declared Jared Polis the winner, Polis began delivering a victory speech at his election party. My colleague Andrew Kenney was there to take video:

— Sarah Bures

8:00 p.m. Jared Polis wins second term

Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, is set to serve a second term as the governor of Colorado after winning reelection Tuesday night.

He had campaigned largely on his first-term accomplishments on transportation, education and health care, along with broad promises to take on suburban sprawl and rising property taxes in a second term.

In early results, Polis held a commanding lead, with 62 percent of the vote. He had attracted more support in those early results than any other statewide candidate. Ganahl trailed by more than 250,000 votes as of 7:45 p.m. 

Read the full story here.

— Sarah Bures

7:55 p.m.: Waiting... waiting...

Here in the CPR Newsroom, we're waiting for races to be called across Colorado. Our reporters are at election results parties across the state as candidates wait for results to come in.

— Sarah Bures

7:30 p.m.: Ballot boxes overflowing in Adams County.

So many voters in Adams County turned in their ballots on Election Day, it sparked a rumor that drop boxes were being stuffed with blank paper — preventing voters from voting. Nope. It was just ballots that stuffed the boxes, according to the  Adams County Clerk’s Office. That just meant that officials increased staff to pick up ballots from drop boxes. 

“We were at about a 14 percent deficit starting out the day in comparison to 2018,” Adams County spokesperson William Porter said. “Now, we actually have 20,000 ballots ahead of what we were at from the last midterm.”

Porter says it’s possible that the boxes seemed full due to the way the ballots were deposited.

“We have a little speculation that there was a couple times where, because it's a double paged ballot, there were almost, it's kind of bad geometry. It was thick. So sometimes the way they would fall into the ballot box, it would actually seem like it was full when it wasn't,” Porter said.

Porter says Adams County is excited about the overwhelming response.

— Tony Gorman

7:10 p.m.: Timing is everything.

Right at 7 p.m., Gov. Jared Polis announced he signed an executive order extending the COVID-19 disaster declaration. That means that health departments and other agencies will still have access to federal funding for COVID response and recovery.

This comes after Polis told Colorado Matters in October that he was glad President Joe Biden said the pandemic is over. "I think we've kind of been there in Colorado for some time," he said.


-- AB

7 p.m.: Annnnnnd, the polls are closed.

Initial results will be posted here.

-- AB

6:46 p.m. FYI, CPR News is using the Associated Press to call races tonight.

The second polls close, there could be some clear winners -- and AP will call the race. How is that possible? Well, for starters, AP has been doing this for a long time.

"On election night, the AP counts the nation’s votes, tallying the results of millions of ballots as reported by local election officials to come up with the overall total for thousands of races up and down the ballot. It’s been done like that since 1848, when the AP counted the vote that ended with the election of Zachary Taylor as president."

And secondly, the AP has a lot of people watching and tallying.

"How the tally is counted includes tons of preparation, journalists in all 50 states and a network of roughly 4,000 stringers, or temporary freelancers."

Still, there will likely be some razor-thin races, so we might not know the results until tomorrow, or even later.

-- AB

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A photographer drops off his ballot at a mobile polling center in downtown Denver on election day. Nov. 8, 2022.

6:43 p.m.: Tick. Tick. Tick. About 15 minutes until the polls close

If you're in line before 7 p.m. when the polls close, you can still vote -- but you can't drop your ballot off after 7. In Denver, the it's crickets at the Swansea Rec Center.

The manager at Swansea Rec Center told Denverite this may be "the most boring polling station" in town, in terms of traffic. But as of about an hour ago, people are still trickling in, including one guy who said his grandson tried filling out the ballot that came in the mail, so he had to come in.

New election judges at the center say it's going well, and one election judge is celebrating a her 73rd birthday.

-- AB

5:50 p.m.: Drip. Drip. Drip. Ballot returns keep adding up.

As of 3:30 this afternoon, clerks had received 2,039,527 total — which amounts to 53 percent of active voters. 

The partisan breakdown of those ballots has held fairly steady through the day — 29 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, and 39 percent unaffiliated. Some conservative leaders have urged Republicans to hold off on casting their ballots until after 3 p.m. today.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A line at a mobile polling center in downtown Denver on election day. Nov. 8, 2022.

If those instructions, which are based on false conspiracy theories, found a receptive audience, those percentages could change as we move later into the evening.

-- MV

5:45 p.m.: If you planned to vote this evening at the Emily Griffith in Denver -- you might rethink that.

Denver Elections says that the wait times at Emily Griffith is now longer than an hour. They recommend going to nearby voting centers. But if you're in line before the polls close at 7 p.m., you will still be able to vote.

-- Alison Borden

5:05 p.m.: Being an election judge is a commitment. Just ask this 75-year-old Manitou Springs election worker.

Manitou Springs resident Judy Carnick was at Manitou Springs City Hall on Election Day as an election judge when reporter Dan Boyce caught up with her this afternoon. The 75-year-old said it was her first time holding that position. 

“Today's been a lot of fun because when it's busy and people are so glad to vote and you're so glad to see them, it's a great experience,” Carnick said.

20221108-ELECTION-DAYHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Election Judge Judy Carnick talks with CPRE News reporter Dan Boyce outside the polling place at Manitou Springs City Hall was quiet the afternoon of Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.

Carnick said she has learned so much about the integrity of the election process here in her first time as an election judge.

“This process is so secure, it's crazy,” Carnick said. “I had no idea until I took the training, about how much security there is around every ballot."

There were times when she couldn’t take a break because election rules require one Democrat and one Republican, and if possible, an Independent, at every station. 

"I couldn't take a break, because we have to have balance in every position,” she said.

-- SR

4:36 p.m.: Here's how many ballots have been returned in Colorado as of midday

A midday update from the Secretary of State’s office shows returns still lagging far behind the last midterm.

As of 12:30 p.m. on Election Day, almost 49 percent of active voters have returned their ballots — 28 percent are from Republicans, 31 percent from Democrats, and 39 percent from unaffiliated voters.

Compared to this point in the election four years ago, that’s roughly 212,000 fewer Democrats who’ve voted so far, 246,000 fewer Republicans and 98,000 thousand fewer unaffiliated. The final turnout rate in 2018 was 74.9 percent of active voters.

As the end of the election gets closer, the average age of voters has gotten a bit younger. At this point, 35 percent of ballots have come from voters 65 years old and above. Coming out of the weekend, that figure was 41 percent.

-- Megan Verlee

4:30 p.m.: Voters in the Western Slope share their reasons for voting and views on the election system

In Grand Junction, a constant stream of voters dropped their ballots off at a dropbox outside the Mesa County Department of Human Services when reporter Stina Sieg checked out the scene this afternoon. 

Grand Junction resident Antonio Clark, 28, told Sieg he was concerned about candidates running regionally.

“Some of the people running for office are a little bit scary,” Clark said. “Some of the candidates I definitely think are, shouldn't be people that should be in office.”

Stina Sieg/CPR News
Grand Junction resident Antonio Clark, pictured with his partner LeMonyca Anderson, said he finds some politicians running "a little bit scary" and wanted to vote them down. He dropped off his ballot at the Mesa County Department of Human Services building.

Lauren Ratzloff, 32, said she used to be a Republican but has become more liberal in recent years. She pointed to the conspiracy theories she’d seen from Republicans and people like Tina Peters as her reason for switching sides. 

Ratzloff is most interested in protecting abortion access. She used to work in family planning and says she knows how important it is. 

Richard Bowen, 59, said he doesn't like the way the country is headed and is very concerned about inflation.

He said he voted down all tax increases and also voted against all Democrats. 

Bowen doesn’t believe there is much voter intimidation in the U.S. and said he has a lot of trust in Colorado’s election system. 

-- SR

4:03 p.m.: Wait times being reported in Denver

Denver Elections is reporting wait times to vote are currently exceeding 30 minutes at the mobile voting unit at Emily Griffith Technical College. Officials recommend heading to other vote centers.

The deadline to vote in person is 7 p.m.


3:30 p.m.: How one Colorado classroom's mock election played out

Rebecca Dimaio's AP government class can't vote, but it didn't stop them from casting mock ballots.

In Dimaio's class, the mock election simulated everything Coloradans would vote for, like the governor, down-ballot positions, and the ballot initiatives.

She's already counted the fake votes from her students. The vote swayed towards liberal candidates and progressive ballot measures, which Dimaio believes is because of their "young, idealistic and hopeful" personalities.

Rebecca Dimaio teaches AP government. She voted on Election Day at Superior Town Hall. Tue., Nov. 8, 2022.

Still, many of her students weren't very happy with the options they had.

"They looked at all the political parties, they were versed in all the ones on the ballot," Dimaio said before casting her ballot at Superior Town Hall. "They just felt like all those candidates were just so far removed from their lives."

Dimaio hopes her students will take lessons learned in class to heart and vote once they reach legal voting age. They'll join a voting bloc not typically known for its voting power. 

Statewide numbers indicate around 80,000 Coloradans ages 18 to 24 have cast their ballot this election. That's about half of the amount of Coloradans ages 25-34 that have voted this year.

-- PZ

3 p.m.: The scenes in Grand Junction, Greeley and Thornton

In Greeley, reporter Rachel Estabrook found Arianna Morales encouraging young people to vote at a polling site at the University of Northern Colorado. Morales, a policy manager for New Era Colorado, said she helped put together a ballot measure guide for young people.

“We’ve had a lot of people voting in person today," said Morales, who lives in Denver and voted on Saturday. "I think folks know it’s so convenient here so they take their break time to come over.”

Rachel Estabrook/CPR News
Arianna Morales, policy manager for New Era Colorado, is at the polling site at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She voted on Saturday and is there on Election Day to encourage young people to vote.

In Grand Junction, reporter Stina Sieg saw a steady stream of cars driving up a dropbox outside the Mesa County Public Health building. Voters there aren't as interested in specific ballot measures but making their voice known about the direction the country is headed in.

In Thornton, reporter Caitlyn Kim saw Democrats firing up volunteers before sending them out to GOTV (get out the vote). Candidates Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Diana DeGette and Yadira Caraveo were on hand for the festivities.


2:40 p.m.: Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez says results may not be known on election night

Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez talked to reporter Bente Birkeland at the Denver Election Division, on 14th and Bannock, this afternoon about the ease of voting, polling locations and why results may not be known on election night. 

Bente Birkeland/CPR News
Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez on Election Day.

On how he’s feeling today:

“It’s a beautiful Election Day. We started really early in the morning with some mariachis. We opened it up in style like we do in the mile-high city.”

On the tradition to visit as many voting centers as possible and making sure election workers are appreciated.

“Our election judges are the heart and soul of everything we do. It’s a safe and secure environment and at the same time it's accessible.”

On voters’ fears over election security:

“We have three ways that people can vote. The number one takeaway is…any vote that is cast in Denver County is a paper ballot. It’s a paper ballot that we can audit. It’s a paper ballot that has a trail and it’s a paper ballot that we hold 25 months after an election.”

“It's safe, its secure, it's transparent. That box is available 24/7. It has monitors on it. We empty it with bipartisan teams. There are 37 vote centers, 43 boxes, and one mobile unit. That's accessibility.” 

On results not being known on election night:

“A lot of people get excited. [Because there are lots of people voting today] that means we will have to take more time and will continue to be counting this week. We value accuracy over speed. Results will be announced tonight, tomorrow the day after. It will be official once it is certified closer to Thanksgiving.”


2:09 p.m.: We'll let you know when big stuff happens!

You can keep track of the election on the CPR News Election Dashboard, but we'll also email you when big things happen tonight. You're going to want to get those email alerts -- the Lookout email list is the place to start.

And if you're in Denver, you'll want to get alerts from Denverite as well.

-- DB

2:03 p.m.: Sen. Hickenlooper says Colorado's election system is like cellophane. 'You can see right through it.'

Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper was spotted by reporter Bente Birkeland dropping off his ballot at a dropbox in Denver around lunchtime. 

Shortly after, Hickenlooper started his shift as a poll watcher for the first time ever. 

Bente Birkeland/CPR News
Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper drops off his mail-in ballot in Denver on Election Day.

On his reason for doing it:

“With so much heightened awareness of, ‘Is our voting safe? Are the votes corrupt or fraudulent in any way,’ I wanted to see the whole system so I went through and took the class, which is an hour and a half and learned all the things that a watcher can do and the things a watcher can’t do,” Hickenlooper told Birkeland. 

He learned about voter intimidation, and how to clearly make sure votes are counted accurately. 

While Hickenlooper said he went through the process to become more educated on the system, he acknowledged that it will now help him talk to others about how the system works and how safe it is. 

“I feel so proud of Colorado because our system is strong and transparent, Hickenlooper said. “It’s like cellophane, you can see right through it.”

As a poll watcher, the current senator and former governor will witness and verify the conduct of the election. He had to take an online test on the rules and get a certificate. Poll watchers work in bipartisan teams, with each member recommended by their local party officials, so Hickenlooper will be paired with a Republican during his shift.

-- SR

1:40 p.m.: In El Paso County, voters like to multitask and be festive

Reporter Dan Boyce spoke to voters down in El Paso County who chose to drop off their mail-in ballots on Election Day for multiple reasons.

Dan Boyce/CPR News
DeeAnn Rothstein dropped her ballot off at the Colorado Springs City Administration building while walking her dog. on Election Day.

DeeAnn Rothstein, who described herself as a conservative independent, dropped off her ballot at the Colorado Springs City Administration building while walking her dog. 

She said she was multitasking by “getting the energy out of my dog and also doing my civil duty, which is really important to me."

Rothstein said she isn’t worried about the election process in Colorado, noting its long history of mail-in voting.

Lindsey Grewe, who works for the local TV station KKTV, said while she’s “always kind of a procrastinator” and waited until Election Day to submit her ballot at Centennial Hall, she also thinks its cool to vote on the actual election day. 

“It’s a little bit festive,” Grewe said. 

Grewe also said she trusts the election system. 

“Mail-in ballots have been a thing here longer than elsewhere in the country and it seems like we do a really good job with it,” Grewe said.

Bri Romero walked up to a dropbox at the administration building in downtown Colorado Springs with a ballot in hand and ready. 

“Well, it was actually my first time voting,” Romero said. “I'm only 18. So, that was what was important to me. I'd rather have my voice heard than not."

-- SR

1:02 p.m.: What college students have to say

Reporter Paolo Zialcita spoke with students at CU who shared their motivations for voting on Election Day.

Khyathi Velpuri, who works in the healthcare field and is a registered Democrat, said Covid-19 and abortion rights were top concerns for her. And as a child of immigrants, she also resonates better with those who align with her beliefs.

"I vote based off of if I'm happy with what's going on right now," Velpuri said. "And I clearly I wasn't so I thought, 'You know what, let's do something about it.'"

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
CU student Khyathi Velpuri voted at the University Memorial Center on Election Day where the atmosphere was busy, with lines forming whenever classes got out.

She believes college students don't tend to vote due to time constraints and a stigma associated with politics, leading some to avoid even thinking about it.

"Even I was the same way too," Velpuri said. "My first two years here at this school I was very scared of voting. I didn't know if I was going to pick the right decisions or the wrong decisions. I felt like I was not informed enough."

Maria Beaini, who is from Parker and is also a restaurant worker, said seeing the messages to vote on social media drove her to the polls on Election Day.

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
CU student Maria Beaini, who is from Parker, said she voted for Democratic candidates. Climate change and reproductive rights were the biggest issues that drove her to the polls on Election Day.

Beaini voted for Democratic candidates, noting that her political views differed from that of her parents who are Republicans.

"I vote to go against what they say," Beaini said. "I'm just, 'Oh I don't want to do what you're doing'."

Climate change and women's reproductive rights were Beaini's top issues that drove her to the polls.

-- Stephanie Rivera

12:28 p.m.: On turnout...

Turnout is low in the 2022 elections

For all the talk about how important these midterm elections will be, voters in Colorado don’t seem very enthusiastic so far.

Overall turnout in the midterms is down significantly compared to the last midterm elections. About 1.7 million ballots had been counted as of Monday night. That’s about 150,000 fewer, or 9 percent less, than had been counted at this point in the 2018 elections.

Percent of active Colorado voters who have cast ballots, 2022 vs. 2018 general elections.

The low-voting trend holds true across all the major voting groups. A smaller portion of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters have cast their ballots so far, compared to this time in 2018. 

About 51 percent of active Republican voters and 50 percent of active Democrats have had their votes counted so far. That’s compared to 60-plus percent for both parties at this point in 2018.

Unaffiliated turnout is trending lowest of all. Only about 32 percent of active unaffiliated voters had turned out as of last night. But unaffiliated voters are by far the largest group of voters in Colorado — so even with their seeming lack of enthusiasm, they are still voting in larger numbers overall.

Republicans hope for a late surge of support as their numbers lag

Republicans are voting in lower numbers, so far, compared to Democrats and unaffiliated voters. 

As of Monday night, about 485,000 Republican ballots had been counted, compared to about 535,000 ballots from Democratic voters. 

That gap is worrying for Republicans. At this point in 2018, the two parties were running nearly even in terms of turnout — and Republicans still went on to lose the state elections badly.

It could be a reflection of several different factors. First, overall turnout is down compared to 2018, including for Democrats. Voters may simply be uninspired by the candidates this year.

But the Republican numbers are especially low. One reason is that there are simply fewer Republicans overall. The party has lost nearly 7 percent of its registered members since 2018. Meanwhile, Democratic numbers have grown slightly — and the number of unaffiliated voters has exploded by 30 percent.

Percent of active Colorado voters who have cast ballots, 2022 vs. 2018 general elections.

Still, Republicans are holding onto hope for a couple of reasons. First, turnout numbers don’t determine the election. Unaffiliated voters are by far the largest voting group now, and it’s much harder to predict how they might vote. Republicans could make up some of the gap if they win the support of those unaffiliated voters.

They’re also taking comfort in the fact that Democratic turnout is low, too.

“We're not where we need to be, but neither are the Democrats. Their turnout is also suppressed. Their people are not excited,” said Kristi Burton Brown, chair of the state Republican PArty.

Republicans also are hoping for a late surge of voters from their own party. That would be unusual, since Republicans tend to vote earlier, not later. But this year may be different because of election denialism among conservatives.

Election conspiracy theorists have been urging voters to turn in their ballots on Election Day, falsely claiming that it will be more secure. If Republican voters do that, it could result in last-minute votes.

-- Andrew Kenney

11:49 a.m.: Not technically a drive-through

Bente Birkeland/CPR News
A voter drops off a ballot at the Denver Elections Division building in downtown Denver on Election Day, Tue., Nov. 8, 2022.

CPR News reporter Bente Birkeland sent in this photo of approximately 50 horsepower of democracy in action.

-- DB

11:38 a.m.: Your government teacher wears cool pants to vote

Rebecca Dimaio teaches AP government and voted today at Superior Town Hall.

"I teach all semsester long about why you need to vote, so I'm here voting," she told CPR News reporter Paolo Zialcita. "I like to turn it in myself, and I like to get the sticker."

Rebecca Dimaio teaches AP government. She voted on Election Day at Superior Town Hall. Tue., Nov. 8, 2022.

This week she's voted and counted ballots -- although not in an official government capacity.

"I also created a ballot for my students in the class that represents what their county ballot looks like. So they all got a chance to vote," she said. "We're gonna see how they compare to the rest of the state on Wednesday."

-- DB

11:01 a.m.: This is the most politics-nerd Election Day story I can imagine

And it's all for you!

-- DB

10:26 a.m.: Pass the day with a few good listens

What should you be watching for today? Well, how about starting with what the CPR News public affairs team is watching for? They get into that on this episode of Purplish. (You can also check out other episodes on how this impact will affect housing, how this election is (or isn't) different for Latino voters, and of course election security: Here's the full list.)

Is your vote secure, and properly counted? Since November 2020, election integrity has been under public scrutiny. It’s questioned in the news, by family and friends, and candidates themselves. A recent episode of CPR News podcast Colorado In Depth takes you behind the scenes of Colorado’s elections, to meet the people and systems designed to prevent fraud and count every vote.

CPR News reporter Dan Boyce points out that a podcast from the Economist looks at "an extraordinary spike in the number of threats made against election workers" in Colorado.

-- DB

10:17 a.m.: A few familiar themes arising

Jenna Martinez, from Westminster, wore a shirt that says “1776 Forever Free” while she voted in person at Front Range Community College. She said she went there in person today out of fears for election security.

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
Jenna Martinez, of Westminster, voted at Front Range Community College on Election Day, Tue., Nov. 8, 2022.

Christopher Schepers, of Broomfield, also voted there today.

"I wanted to make sure my rights are represented and I'm taken care of," he said. "I voted for a straight ticket this year… which I was disappointed to have to do … normally I am proud to be able to vote bipartisan."

-- Paolo Zialcita

10:12 a.m.: Ballots, ballots, ballots

An elections worker drops a ballot from a motorist into a ballot box on Election Day at a station in front of the El Paso County Commissioners building on Cascade Avenue in Colorado Springs, Nov. 8, 2022.

-- Hart Van Denburg

10:02 a.m.: Polis, top Democrats push for college turnout on eve of election

Gov. Jared Polis and a slate of Democratic incumbents, including Sen. Michael Bennet, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Jason Crow, spent much of Monday at college campuses, where they hoped to boost turnout among young, liberal-leaning voters.

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, second from left, stands beside U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, third from left, and Neguse’s daughter Natalie, as they pose for photos with a group of supporters in Boulder on Monday evening, Nov. 7, 2022, the day before Election Day.

As of Sunday night, people 65 years and old accounted for nearly 41 percent of the ballots returned so far.

“This election is about our future. I’m running to protect our freedoms, protect our environment. You're a generation with a lot of challenges,” Polis told a few dozen students gathered at the University of Denver, citing climate change, war and economic uncertainty. 

“No one has more at stake in the future of our country and our world than our younger Coloradans,” the incumbent added.

Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis poses for a photo at a gathering of supporters in Boulder on Monday evening, Nov. 7, 2022, the day before Election Day. He’s being challenged by Republic Heidi Ganahl.

Bennet took the microphone afterward, casting the election as a critical decision on abortion rights and climate change. Acknowledging expectations of Republican gains nationally, he pointed out that he had first won election to the Senate in 2010, a red wave year.

“I care a lot about not expiring before I know I’ve left you a democracy and economy that we can be proud of,” he told the crowd of undergraduates.

The day’s junket also included stops at Denver’s Auraria campus and CU Boulder.

-- AK

10:00 a.m.: More voting in Littleton

Matt Bloom/CPR News
Election Day voting at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton on Tue., Nov. 8, 2022.

Karelee Mantei walked out of an in-person polling site at Arapahoe Community College wearing medical scrubs. She wanted to vote in person because she thinks its more secure. Says she's had issues with signature verification on mail-in ballots the past two elections.

Cenk Toroslu dropped off his ballot this morning, too. He said he's tired of the two big political parties.

Amber Strickland voted in person because she moved recently and didn't update her address on voter registration in time to get a mail-in ballot. But is a huge fan of mail-in ballots. 

-- MB

9:55 a.m.: In final hours, Ganahl appeals to the conservative base

In the final days of her campaign for governor of Colorado, Republican Heidi Ganahl put an emphasis on the conservative voters who make up her base. 

She appeared on interview shows with Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser, as well as Joe Oltmann, a Colorado podcaster who has been at the center of election conspiracy theories and who has talked about hanging his political enemies, including Gov. Jared Polis.

Later, at a campaign event on Monday night, Ganahl told her supporters that the media was conspiring against her. “The media’s putting out fake polls. They wanna suppress the vote. We are within a few points. But we’ve got to stay united,” she said. “I know we’ve had our disagreements, but we’ve got to come together in the next 24 hours.”

Heidi Ganahl, Republican candidate for governor, greets supporters at Stampede in Aurora on the night before Election Day. (Andrew Kenney / CPR News)

Polls from Emerson College and the progressive group Data for Progress have found Ganahl trails Polis by 12 or more percentage points. The Republican pollster Trafalgar Group found she was behind by 7 points.

In a speech to about 200 people at the Stampede, a cavernous Western-themed nightclub in Aurora, Ganahl said she would restore the state’s promise.

“Everywhere we go, we hear that Colorado just isn’t the same. That the Colorado we had … is slipping away. And so many of the media are out of touch,” she said. “People just want to be trusted to make good decisions for their lives.”

Heidi Ganahl, Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at Stampede in Aurora on Nov. 7, 2022, the night before Election Day. (Andrew Kenney / CPR News)

And she alluded to the fact that her campaign has bucked the advice of some in the Republican establishment. Ganahl has spent much of the last few weeks talking about “parents’ rights,” including her repeated comments about “furries” in schools.

“At the beginning of the campaign, a lot of the fancy consultants said, ‘Oh, quit talking about being a mom. Don’t talk about being a mom on a mission. Talk about your business experience. Talk about being a Regent at CU,’” she said. 

“I’m like, ‘No.’ There is nothing more important than our children. If our kids are not OK, nothing is OK.”

-- Andrew Kenney

9:49 a.m.: Election security: The explainer

Speaking of watching the polls ... if you've already voted, you could take this time to read all about election security!

We've got a FAQ that gets into questions like "What are Colorado’s main checks against voter fraud?" and "How does the system know that you didn't vote both by mail and at the polls?" (popular!) and "I'm always worried that my signature won't match whatever they have on record. What version of my signature is used to confirm my identity?"

That FAQ is right here.

And if you want to follow a ballot's path after it leaves your hands, we've got a story for that, too. It's really interesting and I honestly did not know that actual dice are involved in the electoral process (to randomize certain security checks after the election).

Lisa Heagney (left) and Kathryn Dunn (right) load a ballot transit box into a county van. The two work as a bipartisan pair to transfer ballot envelopes back to Arapahoe County’s main elections facility.

-- DB

9:34 a.m.: Hickenlooper putting in some time today

Some voters may see a familiar face when they drop off their ballot today in Denver. Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper will be working as a poll watcher around lunchtime today.

As a poll watcher, the current senator and former governor will witness and verify the conduct of the election. He had to take an online test on the rules and get a certificate. Poll watchers work in bipartisan teams, with each member recommended by their local party officials, so Hickenlooper will be paired with a Republican during his shift.

This is the first time Hickenlooper will have served as an election watcher and his office said he’s excited about the opportunity.

To be an election watcher in the state, you need to be an eligible voter, selected by an authorized appointing entity and not be a candidate on the ballot or an immediate family member of a candidate.

-- Caitlyn Kim

9:26 a.m.: See you in Mesa County shortly

Still need to vote in Mesa County? Stina's got the map link handy for you.

-- DB

9:08 a.m.: Clear skies in Colorado Springs

Visuals editor Hart Van Denburg just sent this one to the liveblog editor -- you can drop off your ballot and get a last gasp of fall colors, looks like.

A motorist drops of a ballot on Election Day at a station in front of the El Paso County Commissioners building on Cascade Avenue in Colorado Springs, Nov. 8, 2022.

9:04 a.m.: Hello from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton!

Jeanie Brevoort was in a marathoner's jogging outfit (Cambelbak water bottle and all). She jogged from her house in Littleton with her ballots to drop them off at Arapahoe Community College.

She said it's important to vote in midterm elections: "This is your voice. I mean, whether it's a midterm or a full election, but all of these people matter. It's not one person. So it actually matters in the midterms too."

Katie Shadakofsky dropped off her ballot on Election Day because she believes it's our "constitutional duty" to vote on a single election day and show up in person.

-- Matt Bloom

8:56 a.m.: Checking in at the Westminster City Park Recreation Center

CPR News reporter Paolo Zialcita is checking in with voters at the Westminster City Park Recreation Center this morning.

He chatted with Maria Olvera, who was motivated to come out to vote in the gubernatorial race and on Proposition FF, about school meals.

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
Maria Olvera, of Westminster, voted in person at the Westminster City Park Recreation Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Courtney Owen told Paolo she always votes, but that this year she was interested in the outcome of Prop FF, and was particularly motivated this election by the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier.

Paolo Zialcita/CPR News
Courtney Owen, of Westminster, voted at the Westminster City Park Recreation Center on Election Day, Tue., Nov. 8, 2022.

John Miracle, also voting in person today at the rec center, told Paolo he was "not entirely enthusiastic" about any particular candidates, but feels a strong responsibility to vote. He was a little surprised to see psychedelic substances on the ballot.

"I feel the need to see my vote being registered and deposited in some way, it gives me more of a tangible feeling that I've completed it."

Finally, when Paolo asked if he had anything else to add, he said "Go vote."

-- DB

7:59 a.m.: Election weather looks good

Places where it'll be sunny and in the 60s or 70s today: Pueblo, Denver, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs…

The mountains won't hit the 60s, but I see a lot of sunny forecasts.

I actually refreshed the weather radar a couple times just now while looking at it because it seemed not to be registering anything, but actually when I look closely, it appaers that Fort Collins gets to have a cloud or two.

In other words: No excuses. If you still need to fill out that ballot, you can do that with help from the CPR guide, the KRCC guide and/or the Denverite guide.

-- DB

7:12 a.m.: Election Morning

Good morning, it's Election Day. We'll be with you all day, recapping what's at stake and checking in on scenes around Colorado, and all night, watching as vote tabulations get reported and elections get called (or not!).

CPR News public affairs editor Megan Verlee has set the scene for us as Coloradans finish voting today for candidates for governor, senator, secretary of state and attorney general, as well as for countless (no, they're countable, it could be done, but I'm not doing it) ballot initiatives, amendments and the like:

"...the stage for this contest was set four years ago, when a blue wave midterm gave Democrats full control of all statewide positions, as well as both chambers of the legislature...

"However, with inflation squeezing household budgets, crime weighing on voters’ minds and an unpopular Democratic president in Washington, Republicans hope to turn the tide and return Colorado to its purple reputation. A recent NPR poll showed that voters gave Republicans a 20 point lead on Democrats when it came to which party was better equipped to handle inflation."

Remember that the very best way to keep up today (Are you watching a specific candidate? Some ballot items? That affordable housing measure, the mushrooms one, the various liquor ones?) will be to sign up for the Lookout email list, which will send out alerts on news and results as the evening rolls on. Do that right here.

If you're in Denver, and want to know how votes shake out on the sidewalks initiative, or required recycling and composting, you'll want to get alerts from Denverite as well.

OK, time to pour some coffee. Catch you in a few.

-- Dave Burdick

You care.

You want to know what is really going on these days, especially in Colorado. We can help you keep up.  The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!