DENVER – Early voting numbers for registered Colorado Republicans surged Wednesday, as they closed what had been a 23,000-vote gap between them and registered Democrats by 9,000 votes, according to numbers released Thursday morning.
Republicans now sit just more than 14,000 votes behind registered Democrats in the state, and unaffiliated voters had one of their most active days Wednesday as well, submitting 63,065 ballots.
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.
Nearly 43 percent of current active registered voters have now submitted ballots in Colorado, though people in the Centennial State are allowed to registered to vote up to Election Day. The most-recent voter registration statistics were released Nov. 1.
In the 2012 presidential election, Colorado had a voter turnout of 70.9 percent – though that election didn’t utilize a mostly mail-in ballot system, as does this year’s.
Colorado Democrats continue to hold an overall lead in early voting. Of the votes submitted so far, 36.2 percent have been from registered Democrats; 35.2 percent are from registered Republicans, and 27.3 percent are from unaffiliated voters – Colorado’s largest electorate.
When comparing the number of votes submitted by each party so far to the number of people registered for each party, Democrats also hold an overall lead.
Of registered Democrats, 48.9 percent have voted already; 48 percent of registered Republicans have voted; and 33.6 percent of unaffiliated voters have cast a ballot.
Some of Colorado’s “counties to watch” also saw notable shifts in early voting Wednesday. The percentage of active Republicans who have voted in Arapahoe and Weld counties overtook the percentage of active Democrats to have already submitted a ballot.
The number of votes submitted by each major party in Jefferson and Larimer counties remained nearly identical.
A poll released Wednesday by the University of Denver showed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in a dead heat in a four-way race. That comes as both campaigns have entered full-court press mode in Colorado – sending either themselves or a pool of surrogates to the state in the final week before Election Day.