Republicans lead Democrats three out of four days in early Colorado ballot returns

As of Oct. 26, Republicans in Colorado have turned in 5,159 more ballots than Democrats, holding a lead in turnout for three out of four days of early returns, according to the secretary of state.

So far, 468,366 voters out of nearly 3.3 million active voters in the state, have turned in their ballots. Election Day is Nov. 6.

On Oct. 24, Democrats had overtaken Republicans by 390 votes after the GOP out-voted them by 2,245 votes on Oct. 23, the first day the secretary of state released return numbers. Republicans swung back on Oct. 25 to take the lead by 2,222. On Oct. 26 they consolidated a few thousand more votes to hold the advantage going into the weekend.

Colorado’s more than 1.2 million unaffiliated voters, the state’s largest voter pool, have cast 132,066 ballots as of Oct. 26. A big question is which way they will swing to affect the partisan statewide and legislative races on this year’s ballot.

We did get an idea of how they might vote if the results of this year’s primaries are any indication. This was the first year unaffiliated voters could participate in a party primary, and they could only pick one. The number of unaffiliated voters was about 270,000. Of that number, 63 percent of them chose a Democratic ballot and 37 percent picked a Republican one, according to data from the secretary of state’s office. Already, 132,066 unaffiliated voters have cast ballots in this election.

On the third-party front, 3,463 Libertarians have cast ballots and 882 Green Party members have voted. The Unity Party, a new third party, snared 71 votes so far.

Voters between the ages of 41 and 60 are casting more early votes in Colorado than any other age group, data shows. Women are ahead of men in early voting by a few thousand ballots.

More voters in swingy Jefferson County are turning in early ballots than anywhere else, to the tune of 61,344. Next up is Arapahoe County, casting 55,767 votes. Voters in El Paso County, home to a large bloc of Republicans, turned in 55,043 ballots so far. In Democrat-rich Denver County, voters have cast only 42,388 ballots. Democratic-leaning Boulder County turned in 35,725 so far. (Both those counties tend to turn ballots in later.) Voters in the battleground county of Larimar have cast 35,372 votes.

Republican pollster David Flaherty of Colorado-based Magellan Strategies is also tracking ballot returns of his own, and posting updates on his firm’s website.

“While it is still likely too early to draw definitive conclusions from the ballot return data, it does appear that Democrats have closed the gap that existed at this point in the election cycle during the last midterm election, 2014,” he writes as of Oct. 26. “It remains to be seen whether that means that they are just voting earlier or whether there will be a significant increase in Democratic voters participating in this election. With ballots being processed over the weekend, Monday’s report should present a clearer picture.”

Here’s the breakdown of Day 4 of Colorado’s early ballot returns in the 2018 General Election, per the secretary of state:

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