DENVER–Democrats were jubilant after early-voting figures released Monday by the Secretary of State’s office showed them closing the gap with Republicans, but in this case the numbers don’t tell the full story.
A review of the figures reveals that 41 of the state’s 64 counties reported the same early-vote totals on updates released Saturday, Nov. 3, and Monday, Nov. 5, indicating that most county clerks didn’t work over the weekend in order to process ballots received Friday.
Counties reporting virtually the same totals include heavily Republican Douglas, Mesa, Montrose and Elbert, along with many smaller rural counties. On the other hand, Democrat-rich counties such as Adams, Boulder and Denver did provide updates from Friday’s balloting.
The result was that the latest count shows Democrats trailing by just 2 percentage points, with 34.5 percent of the vote to the Republicans’ 36.5 percent. Democrats had been trailing by about 3 percentage points.
Democrats chalked up the apparent surge in their early-voting totals Monday to “the effectiveness of the long-term ground game efforts of the Obama campaign. The nearly equal registration numbers, they say, are the best predictor on whether the President or his Republican rival Mitt Romney will win the state when the last ballots are counted,” according to the liberal Colorado Independent.
So far Coloradans have cast 1.7 million votes, or roughly 62 percent of the expected total, according to estimates from the Secretary of State’s office. The state has 2.7 million active voters on the rolls and 3.6 million total registered voters.
“As we make efforts to improve the integrity of our voter rolls, I think we’re seeing greater voter confidence and participation in our elections,” said Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler in a statement.
The secretary’s office released daily updates throughout the early voting period of Oct. 22 through Nov. 2.
Most analysts expect Republicans to cast more votes than Democrats in the 2012 election, given that there are more GOP voters. As of Oct. 19, there were 912,486 registered Republicans, 882,063 unaffiliated voters, and 871,712 Democrats.