With one day to go, ballots received from 22% of Colorado voters

Author: Ernest Luning - November 6, 2017 - Updated: November 6, 2017

An election worker collects a mail-in ballot from a voter in Denver. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Republicans still lead in Colorado ballot returns one day before county clerks must receive them, but Democrats are catching up.

It’s too late to mail ballots — they must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday in order to count, election and U.S. Post Office officials say.

A total of 718,174 ballots were in hand Monday morning, according to the Colorado secretary of state’s office, out of 3.2 million sent to voters — making for a 22-percent turnout. Of those received, 38 percent were from Republicans, 34 percent from Democrats and 27 percent from unaffiliated voters. Party registration in Colorado is split nearly evenly between the three.

Colorado is conducting what’s known as “coordinated elections,” with membership on some city council and school districts, as well as local ballot measures, to be decided. Turnout in odd-year elections is always much lower than in even years, when legislators, members of Congress and major statewide offices are on the ballot — and this is the first year since 2009 without a statewide ballot question.

On the day before Election Day a year ago, as the presidential campaign was nearing its conclusion, nearly three times as many ballots — 1,852,029 — had been received.

This year so far, El Paso County voters have returned the most ballots, with 101,866 received by Monday morning, followed by Jefferson County with 80,740, Denver with 64,639, Douglas County with 61,860 and Arapahoe County at 54,932. S

Six of Colorado’s 64 counties — Cheyenne, Dolores, Grand, Hinsdale, Mineral and Washington — don’t have any contested races within their borders so aren’t holding elections this November.

In last year’s election, 66 percent of voters returned their ballots to drop boxes, 27 percent mailed their ballots back, and 7 percent voted in person, according to Lynn Bartels, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Election officials urge voters to deliver their ballots to collection facilities and the secure, 24-hour drop boxes set up in every county. Voters can also cast ballots in person — contact county clerks for details. Go to for a plethora of election information.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.