DENVER – With just two days of voting to go, Colorado’s registered Republicans have taken a lead of about 7,300 ballot submissions over Democrats.
After Democrats led the tally for much of the first two weeks of the early-voting period, registered Republicans started making up the difference late last week and took a small lead by Friday night.
Over the weekend and Friday, Republicans turned in 104,605 ballots, compared to 90,680 from Democrats and 98,439 from unaffiliated voters.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office updates the number of ballots returned via mail and votes made in-person each day, and breaks down the votes by which party each person who submitted a ballot is registered for.
Every ballot is categorized by each voter’s registration and does not say how a person voted. Colorado law allowed county clerks to start counting ballots on Oct. 24.
The county clerk's offices open the ballots, check their signatures to validate them, and scan the results. However, the results will not be tallied or released until after the polls close on Nov. 8.
As of the Secretary of State’s Monday morning tally, Republicans had submitted 652,380 ballots (35.2 percent of total submissions); Democrats had turned in 645,020 ballots (34.8 percent of total submissions) and unaffiliated voters had turned in 527,706 ballots (28.5 of total submissions).
The 1,852,029 ballots returned so far represent about 56.6 percent of registered active voters in Colorado as of numbers released Nov. 1 by the Secretary of State’s Office.
In 2012’s presidential election, which did not utilize an all-mail ballot system as this year’s does, saw a 71 percent turnout in Colorado.
When comparing the number of ballots submitted so far by each party to the number of active registered voters in each party, the latest tallies show Republicans have now overtaken Democrats in terms of the percentage of active voters who have submitted their ballot.
Voting turnout percentages by party registration now sit as follows: 62 percent for Colorado Democrats; 63.25 percent for Colorado Republicans and 46.25 percent for unaffiliated Colorado voters.
In Jefferson County, long considered a bell-weather in Colorado, Democrats (75,967) have submitted 1,000 more ballots than Republicans (74,969). Unaffiliated voters lag just behind, at 69,559 votes submitted so far.
Larimer County votes are almost nearly evenly-split as well: about 3,000 more Republicans have submitted ballots than Democrats, though there are about 9,000 more registered Republicans in the county.
And in Arapahoe County, where more unaffiliated voters are registered than Democrats or Republicans, Democrats and Republicans sit near-even in the percentage of voters registered to each party that have voted.
But overall statewide, unaffiliated voters still lag way behind Democrats and Republicans. Though they are the largest electorate in Colorado, unaffiliated voters have submitted at least 120,000 ballots less than either Republicans or Democrats.
Colorado polls released late last week showed Clinton held anywhere between a 3 and 6 percentage point lead over Trump in Colorado.