Across Colorado, more than 550 people hold elected office at the county level. New original research from Colorado 50-50 shows that overall women hold about 39% of those seats. However, there are striking differences depending on the position with a high of 84% of county clerks being women to a low of 2% of sheriffs being women.
County commissioners account for the largest share of elected positions. Of the total number of 554 county elected officials, more than one-third – or 190 of them – are commissioners. Male commissioners outnumber female commissioners three to one. Said another way, 75% of county commissioners in Colorado are men, compared to 25% who are women.
“At Colorado 50-50, our mission is to see half of all elected positions going to women. So we were very disappointed to discover that so few women are county commissioners,” said Colorado 50-50 Founder Erin Hottenstein.
The numbers are even worse for district attorneys (18% women), surveyors (16% women), and sheriffs (2% women), and almost as bad for coroners (27% women). On the other hand, some positions were very well represented by women, including clerks and recorders (84% women), treasurers (77% women), and assessors (56% women).
“We were delightfully surprised to find so many women elected as clerk and recorders, treasurers, and assessors,” Hottenstein said.
“Women bring a unique and important perspective to public office, along with their qualifications. We are missing something critical when they are not represented in the highest positions,” she said. “We hope this new research spurs more women to run for county positions in 2022, and more people to support them running.”