State Watch

Colorado reports ‘bonkers’ increase of 2,400 percent in early voting

More than 300,000 Colorado voters have already cast their ballots for the Nov. 3 elections, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Thursday. 

Griswold announced the news in a tweet, adding that this number was “24 times more than at this point in 2016.”

The data, calculated based on ballots sent in by Wednesday evening, came with 20 days left before the general elections. At this time in 2016, just 12,141 people had voted, a spokeswoman for Griswold told the Denver Post

In Colorado, which mails a ballot to every registered voter, the new voting numbers mark a 2,377 percent increase in early turnout this year compared with 2016, a rise Democratic political consultant Craig Hughes called “bonkers,” according to the Post. 

“It’s great for democracy to see so many Coloradans making their voices heard,” Griswold told the news outlet. “Even with ballots still being mailed this week to registered voters, turnout is 24 times higher than at this point in 2016.”

The numbers from the secretary of state’s office also indicated a gap in early voting between Republicans and Democrats in the state. Of those who had voted by Wednesday evening, 46 percent were registered Democrats, although voter registration data shows that they make up only 30 percent of registered voters in the state. 

A September poll by the liberal advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado, which contracted with Democratic firm Global Strategy Group, found that among registered Colorado voters, 87 percent of supporters for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were “extremely motivated” to vote, 7 percent higher than President Trump voters. 

Polling has also shown Colorado has many more Biden supporters than Trump supporters, as the Keating-OnSight-Melanson Colorado poll released Thursday showed Biden leading Trump among Colorado voters by double digits. 

As of Friday, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight had Biden ahead of Trump in Colorado by approximately 13 percentage points, with RealClearPolitics reporting a 10 point lead by Biden. 

This comes as the country has also experienced record early voting on a national level, with the United States Elections Project reporting Wednesday that about 14 million people have already voted in the presidential election, just 10 percent of the total turnout in 2016. 

Trump has repeatedly attacked the practice of mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that it is filled with cases of voter fraud. 

Despite the president’s claims, more states have expanded the practice this year due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, which U.S. Elections Project Director Michael McDonald told NPR last month could help explain the surge in early voting across the country. 

“There are three driving factors here. One is simply that states have relaxed their laws. Maybe it was through changes that were already in place or as an emergency for the pandemic. And in the latter case, we’ve seen many people requesting mail ballots and voting in-person early in order to socially distance,” he said. “The other big factor, though, that’s going on here is that there are lots of people who really are enthused to vote, and they’re casting their ballots early.”

Tags 2020 election absentee ballots Colorado Denver Donald Trump Early voting FiveThirtyEight Joe Biden NPR RealClearPolitics

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