Both major parties crack million active voter threshold in Colorado, Dem lead widens

Aurelien Guichard


With one week until Election Day, new Colorado voter registration data shows there are now more than 1 million registered active voters in each major party, for the first time ever. Democrats, who have outnumbered Republicans since late September, now lead by their greatest margin yet.

According to the Nov. 1 figures from the Secretary of State’s office, Colorado now has 1,040,948 registered active Democratic voters, further overtaking active Republican voters in the state by about 10,000. Republicans also have more than 1 million active registered voters with 1,031,512 of them in the state.

But Democrats have made a big jump in the past two months in Colorado and overtook the GOP.

The Dems were still trailing active registered Republican voters in Colorado by about 3,000 in September. By October they had closed the gap and then some, but still had just under 1 million active registered voters.

Each month, the Secretary of State releases a data dump of voter registration figures. In July, the report made headlines because registered Democrats outpaced registered Republicans here for the first time in decades. But the caveat was that there were still about 8,400 more active Republican voters throughout the state than Democrats.

Within the past four months, Democrats have overtaken Republicans in both active and inactive categories, and increased their lead in the voter data significantly.

“Active” voters are registered voters who have an address that the Secretary of State’s office can confirm with a mailing. “Inactive” voters include voters who don’t appear to live at the address the state has on record. “Both are eligible to vote,” says Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels, but her office can’t send a ballot to an inactive voter because officials know the address is wrong and ballots cannot be forwarded.

That’s important because Colorado went to mail-in ballots after a change in state voting laws in 2013. This year marks the first presidential election in Colorado under the new vote-by-mail system.

Related: Colorado’s first all-mail presidential election: Vote early and they’ll leave you alone

This year has also seen something else: Democrats mailing in their ballots at a more robust rate than Republicans.

As of Nov. 1, registered Democrats across the state had mailed in 399,341 ballots, while Republicans mailed in 371,346. Unaffiliated voters, who make up the state’s largest voting bloc, mailed in 281,845 ballots.

Related: Early Colorado returns: Dem and GOP strategists see a blue wave crashing

Some of the credit for the state Democratic Party’s high registration numbers might come from Hillary Clinton’s Colorado campaign. According that effort’s spokeswoman, Meredith Thatcher, the campaign has registered “thousands and thousands” of new voters in recent months, many of them on college campuses.

Unaffiliated voters in Colorado number 1,140,909 as of the latest Nov. 1, 2016 figures.

Photo credit: Aurelien Guichard, Creative Commons, Flickr


  1. What’s the contrast to earlier numbers of unaffiliated voters?

    From a couple episodes of registering voters early in the summer, I found several voters taking advantage of my presence to change their registration to unaffiliated. Given the Denver locations and a few comments, I expect a number of them were one-time Bernie backers, abandoning the Democratic Party as they no longer needed to be in the party for caucusing purposes.

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