Colorado 2021 turnout

Heading into election day, Republicans had a turnout lead over Democrats, with about 37% of registered Republicans either returning their ballot by mail or in person by 5 p.m. on election day, and only 31% of Democrats doing the same.

The outsized Republican turnout was even enough to overcome the statewide Democratic voter registration advantage in early returns. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about 130,000 voters. Late-counted ballots could lead to a narrowed margin, but by 5 p.m. Tuesday, ballots cast by Republicans outnumbered ballots cast by Democrats by about 23,000 votes statewide. 

The trend wasn’t isolated to Colorado. Where elections were held Tuesday, Republicans showed more enthusiasm across the board.

Late in the day Tuesday, the overall voter turnout was still far below recent off-year elections in Colorado. With just 1.2 million ballots cast statewide by 5 p.m. Tuesday, the turnout was around 29%, with some election-day ballots still being counted.

In 2019, about 40% of voters participated in the election, and in 2017, around 33% of all voters cast a ballot.

Tuesday’s total turnout will still rise as final ballots are counted, but overall, the election showed lower than normal participation, but greater participation from Republicans, which supports the longstanding trend of greater enthusiasm from the party that doesn’t hold the White House.

Party-unaffiliated voters, even though they make up the largest portion of Colorado voters, had returned only 23% of their ballots, adding to the notion that unaffiliated voters are not as engaged with elections as partisans.

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