Colorado Democrats are returning general-election ballots at twice the rate of Republicans so far, and the state’s unaffiliated voters are also outpacing Republicans, according to very preliminary figures compiled this week by county clerks and the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
With less than three weeks until Election Day, Democrats hold an early lead in ballots returned, accounting for 47 percent of all returned ballots, compared with 23 percent from Republicans and 29 percent from voters registered unaffiliated.
Of the total number of ballots received and processed by election officials through early Wednesday, 1,946 came from registered Democrats, 1,187 were cast by unaffiliated voters, and 965 came from Republicans. Another 47 ballots came from members of minor parties.
Election officials started sending mail ballots out to Colorado’s more than 3 million active, registered voters on Monday, but more than 26,000 ballots went out to roughly 26,000 military and overseas voters in mid September. In addition, voters have been able to vote in person at county clerks’ offices since Sept. 22.
While the early returns might not even qualify as a drop in the vast bucket of Colorado registered voters, they stand in stark contrast to the parties’ shares four years ago, at the same point in the last midterm election, when their roles were nearly reversed.
According to records maintained by the Secretary of State’s office, as of Oct. 17, 2014, Republicans had returned 12,766 ballots, or 46 percent of the total, while Democrats accounted for just 8,714 ballots, or 31.5 percent. Unaffiliated voters had cast 5,864 ballots, or 21 percent.
The Secretary of State’s office plans to start releasing ballot returns next week, a spokesperson told Colorado Politics.
Voters can update their registration, check out sample ballots, determine whether to expect a mail ballot and find places to vote in person or where to drop off ballots at www.govotecolorado.com.
Ballots must be returned to county clerks by 7 p.m. Nov. 6. Colorado residents can register to vote through Election Day but will only receive a mail ballot if they register by Oct. 29.