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More Colo. Republicans vote early, but unaffiliateds are breaking left

Author: Joey Bunch - June 15, 2018 - Updated: June 15, 2018

(Photo by adamkaz, istockphoto)

If this is going to be a blue-wave year for Democrats, the first week of early voting certainly doesn’t suggest it. So far, Republicans are voting in bigger numbers than Democrats as the race to the June 26 primary unfolds.

As of Thursday, 90,391 Democrats had returned ballots compared to 94,013 from Republican voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

It’s notable, however, that Colorado Democrats have a reputation for being unmotivated in midterm elections. Both parties have four candidates for governor on the ballot, but the heat, so far, has been generated by the Democrats, with a race that’s turned ugly the past two weeks.

This is the first year unaffiliated voters could maintain their independence and vote in the primary. So far, it appears they’re leaning left.

Of those who requested ballots, 838 asked for a Democratic ballot compared to 515 who asked to vote Republican.

People who didn’t request a ballot received both in the mail, but they can only return one. Of those, among the votes that have been tallied so far, 5,328 chose the Democratic ballot compared to 3,493 unaffiliated voters who returned a GOP ballot.

Among Democrats, women are more motivated than men, turning in 53,303 to male Democrats’ 36,684.

The opposite is true among Republicans: 47,624 Republican men voted in the first week compared to 46,170 GOP women.

The early returns also show — not surprisingly — that older voters are turning in ballots more quickly than younger ones.

For instance, 6,212 voters younger than 25 voted in the first week, compared to 78,474 who are older than 71.

And in the Some Things Never Change category: Democrats are out-voting Republicans more than 2 to 1 in Boulder County, and the GOP has more than doubled the participation of Dems in El Paso County.

Jefferson is viewed as the state’s swing county, and so far Democratic voters have returned 10,958 ballots to Republicans’ 9,917.

Election fever hasn’t quite hit San Juan County, the state’s least populated county at about 700. After the first week, Democrats are winning in a landslide — 8-4 — but seven votes hadn’t been opened as of Thursday.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.