Fewer than 17% of active Colorado voters have cast their ballots ahead of Tuesday’s election as Coloradans weigh preschool funding and Gov. Jared Polis’ plan to blunt property tax increases.
Five days before Election Day, 654,449 ballots had been returned as of Friday, according to data from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Unaffiliated voters make up 247,453 of that total, the most of any group. Registered Republicans are second with 209,660, followed by Democrats with 190,639.
Nearly all of the votes cast thus far have been through mail ballots, whether returned through the mail or at drop-off sites.
The vote total thus far is low. There are 4.4 million registered voters in Colorado, with more than 3.92 million of them considered active, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Off-year elections — when there are no presidential, congressional, gubernatorial or state legislative seats up for grabs — typically have far lower turnout numbers than their prime-time cousins.
With five days to go before the November 2022 midterm election, for instance, nearly 1 million Coloradans already had voted.
In 2021, when voters rejected three tax- and spending-related ballot measures, 622,223 ballots had been cast five days before polls closed. Democratic voters’ totals were slightly higher that year than thus far in 2023, though unaffiliated totals this year are trending higher by nearly 33,000 votes compared to two years ago.
More unaffiliated voters have cast ballots this year than by this point in 2019, too, when 207,502 independent voters had weighed in five days before the vote. In all, 681,815 voters had cast their ballots by this point in 2019.
Statewide, voters are weighing in on two ballot measures: One, Proposition HH, seeks to reduce the size of property tax increases expected next year as well as raise money for education. The second, Proposition II, would allow the state to keep $23.7 million in tobacco and nicotine tax revenue, largely for preschool programs.
Older men and women have cast the most ballots, according to state data, with younger voters returning the ballots at the lowest rate. El Paso, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties lead the way in voting thus far.
The deadline to return ballots or vote in person is 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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