Colorado voter turnout at 33%; enthusiasm up for Ds, down for Rs

Ballots being collected outside the Denver Election Commission. (Photo by Phil Cherner for The Colorado Independent)

About a third of active registered Colorado voters have cast ballots as of this morning, the secretary of state reported.

With five days to go until Election Day, Democrats and Republicans have cast nearly the same amount of ballots, while unaffiliated voters — the state’s largest voter pool — are lagging behind both major parties.

Of the 1.1 million votes received so far, 382,028 came from Republicans, 381,411 came from Democrats and 324,363 came from unaffiliated voters. Libertarians have cast 8,482 ballots so far, while Green Party members have cast 2,178.

The secretary of state has released daily ballot-count reports every working day since Oct. 24, and on all but one of those days Republicans have held a slight lead over Democrats in ballots returned.

The Boulder County-based polling firm Magellan Strategies reported today that Republicans are about 50,000 returned ballots behind their 2014 pace, while Democrats are about 45,000 returned ballots ahead of their 2014 pace.

“The enthusiasm gap in favor of Democrats still holds,” Magellan’s report reads, “especially when looking at these ballot returns in comparison to 2014. And Unaffiliated voters are voting at level never before seen in a midterm election in Colorado. Whether this means voters are just returning their ballots earlier, or whether there will a significant bump in the final turnout numbers, remains to be seen.”

The reports have also consistently shown a massive gap in turnout between younger and older voters. As of Thursday’s report, a total of 221,596 ballots had been returned by voters between the ages of 18 and 40. Voters 61 and older had cast a total of 522,437 as of the latest report.

While the gulf in turnout by age remains significant, it’s narrowing gradually; Monday’s report showed people 61 and older out-voting people 18-40 by a three-to-one margin, while Thursday’s report showed a 2.35-to-one margin.

People between the ages of 41 and 60 have returned 356,657 ballots, today’s report showed.

Here’s the breakdown as of Nov. 1 of Colorado’s early ballot returns in the 2018 General Election, per the secretary of state: