Over 10,000 17-Year-Olds Vote in Colorado Primary Election

March 10, 2020 Updated: March 10, 2020

Over 10,000 17-year-olds voted in Colorado’s primary elections last week, a state official said, an anomaly in a nation where only those 18 or older usually vote.

The Democratic and Republican primary elections were the first time in Colorado’s history where 17-year-olds voted. The voting came after the 2019 Colorado Votes Act (pdf) passed the state legislature last year.

Only 17-year-olds who turn 18 by November’s general election were allowed to vote. Out of 23,504 active registered 17-year-olds, 10,634 voted, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said this week.

“As the youngest Secretary of State in the country, it is important to me that young people’s voices are heard in Colorado elections,” Griswold, 35, said in a statement.

“To see young people so engaged from their first opportunity to vote gives me great hope that our state will continue to be the gold standard in election turnout for decades to come.”

Of the 17-year-olds that cast ballots, 6,841 voted in the Democratic primary and 3,235 voted in the Republican primary. The others are still being processed.

Colorado’s counties are still counting ballots through March 11.

Some 17-year-olds will be able to vote again on June 30 in the state’s primary and general election on Nov. 3.

According to Griswold’s office, 17 other states and the District of Columbia also let 17-year-olds vote in primaries as long as they’re 18 by that year’s general election. Those states include Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The federal voting age is 18.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), 78, won the Democratic primary in Colorado with 36.8 percent of the vote as of March 10. Former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, came in second with 24.7 percent of the vote.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 78, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), 70, came in third and fourth, respectively. Both have since dropped out of the race.

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