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Election workers were processing ballots at the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Colorado's ballot returns for the 2022 election hit more than 2.5 million, nearly reaching voter turnout during the 2018 midterm election after weeks of underperformance. 

As of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, 2,550,784 ballots were returned, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. That is exactly 16,000 ballots short of the 2,566,784 ballots that were cast in Colorado in 2018. 

The number of 2022 ballot returns is expected to increase as counting continues in county clerk offices throughout the state, with a final update scheduled to be released on Monday. 

An additional 106,000 ballots were counted between Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing this year's voter turnout closer to 2018 numbers. On Wednesday, the 2022 turnout was around 122,000 ballots below the same date in 2018, and on Monday, it was over 277,000 ballots short. 

So far, 66.4% of Colorado’s 3.84 million active registered voters have returned a ballot. In 2018, 74.9% of active registered voters submitted a ballot.

More than 1,032,000 of Colorado ballots came from unaffiliated voters this year, making up 40.46% of the total. That's followed by Democrats with 30.27% and Republicans with 27.98%.

This ranking was the same in 2018, but with much closer splits: 31.8% unaffiliated, 31.0% Democrat and 30.6% Republican. This year, unaffiliated voters so far returned over 160,000 more ballots than they did in 2018. Turnout is slightly below 2018 numbers for both Democrats and Republicans. 

Over 95.3% of ballots cast were mailed in, with only 120,000 people voting in person.

Voters aged 65 and over returned 28.58% of Colorado’s ballots, voters aged 45 to 64 returned 34.65% of ballots, and voters younger than 45 returned 36.77% of ballots.

Jefferson County residents made up the biggest chunk of voters, submitting over 304,000 ballots. Rounding out the top five: El Paso, Denver, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, with returned ballots ranging from 291,785 to 194,081. 

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