Purplish is CPR News' weekly podcast about state politics, state government, Colorado policy, and political identity. This season the show is hosted by public affairs reporters Bente Birkeland and Andrew Kenney. Each week while the legislature is in session, they'll break down the latest developments, look ahead to what's next, and dive into the bigger picture of what it all means for our not-red, not-blue, still pretty purple state.
Friday afternoons

Latest Episodes

  • After eight years as Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper appears to be gearing up for a presidential run. On the campaign trail, he’s almost certain to emphasize gun control laws he signed in 2013. He led a purple state as it beat back the gun lobby to pass two controversial measures. But what did he do -- or not do -- to make that happen? And what does the story of those laws say about how Hickenlooper leads? CPR Public Affairs Reporter Bente Birkeland breaks it down. And keep an eye on this podcast feed! It’s where we’ll tell you more about the return of Purplish for the imminent legislative session.
    <p>In this May 30, 2018 file photo Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the state Capitol.</p>
<p>In this May 30, 2018 file photo Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the state Capitol.</p>
  • Now that ballots have been cast and counted, CPR is trying to figure out what the future holds for Purplish.
    CPR News logo stacked 3x2CPR News logo stacked 3x2
  • The midterm election has come and gone. In Colorado, what occurred wasn't a blue wave, it was a blue avalanche. It was a signal so strong that you could wonder if this is even a purple state anymore.
    <p>Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at the Democratic election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.</p>
<p>Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at the Democratic election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.</p>
  • Colorado boasts some of the highest voter turnout in the country. Seventy percent of eligible adults submitted a ballot in the 2016 election, putting the state fourth in the country for voter turnout. But that still means 30 percent of eligible adults sat it out. Why? Many of the common barriers to voting don’t exist in Colorado. The process is easy. The elections are competitive. So we’re turning to one group that can help with some answers: nonvoters themselves.
    <p>Lynn Torre completes her ballot at a polling center, on state primary election day, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.</p><p>Lynn Torre completes her ballot at a polling center, on state primary election day, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.</p>
  • Security experts say Colorado is one of the most reliable places to cast a ballot. That’s largely because of an old technology: good, old-fashioned wood pulp.
    Voided ballots are verified at the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's office on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.Voided ballots are verified at the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's office on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.
  • Unlike in other states, convicted felons in Colorado who have completed parole are allowed to vote. New laws require people leaving the criminal justice system to learn about their voting rights and give parolees the chance to pre-register. A bipartisan coalition is behind those changes, but how far is it willing to go toward re-enfranchising people within the criminal justice system?
    <p>Inmates registering to vote at Denver’s downtown detention facility.</p>
<p>Inmates registering to vote at Denver’s downtown detention facility.</p>
  • Democratic presidential candidates are on a winning streak in Colorado. The state voted for Barack Obama twice and for Hillary Clinton in 2016. It’s been even longer since Colorado elected a Republican governor. Those results have led some to wonder if the state shouldn’t be considered purple anymore. On the electoral map, it might now be more of a light blue. One expert says not so fast.
    <p>Voting in Thornton, Colo., in 2014.</p><p>Voting in Thornton, Colo., in 2014.</p>
  • Gerrymandering is on the Colorado ballot this November. Amendments Y and Z promise to take the politics out of the drawing of congressional and legislative boundaries. To do it, they would hand the responsibility to a pair of commissions made up of heavily screened citizens -- not politicians or their hand-picked representatives. This week on Purplish, we look back at the troubled 2011 redistricting process and how it led to the current calls for reform. And we discover the amendments aren’t just about putting politicians in line. They also try to balance voters' dueling desires for electoral power and community.

Hosts & Staff