The trickle of ballots being collected by county clerks across Colorado is picking up momentum.
Since Friday, another 150,000 ballots have been turned in, according to the latest numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office. As of Monday morning, 618,942 ballots have been received by the clerks in Colorado’s 64 counties.
The gap in numbers between Republicans and Democrats was cut in half over the weekend, with Republican ballots ahead by 2,411. As of Friday, the difference was 5,159.
Unaffiliated voters have now turned in 176,143 ballots.
With just eight days before the election, one trend emerging is the difference in how votes are being cast depending on gender. Democratic women are turning in ballots at higher numbers than Democratic men, leading by more than 34,000 votes (women have casting 124,869 ballots; men have cast 90,405).
On the Republican side, it’s the opposite. Republican men have turned in 113,427 ballots; women have submitted 104,792.
Among the voters dropping off ballots at ballot boxes on Monday morning: Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, who made their deposits at the ballot box at Denver Elections headquarters on West 14th Avenue.
Hickenlooper demurred when asked if he had voted a straight party-line ballot.
“I voted for all kinds of different things,” Hickenlooper said, grinning.
On the serious side, however, the governor said, “This is an election that means a lot to a great many people. The energy is higher than I can ever remember in Colorado for both parties, but especially for Democrats.”
Hickenlooper indicated that turnout may be due, in part, to a sense of risk and loss Democrats have felt in the past two years. But then he turned to the shooting on Saturday at the Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. Hickenlooper had taken part in a memorial service Sunday night at Temple Emmanuel.
“This country is built on religious freedom, but we were told yesterday by the president of the United States that we believe in religious freedom, but you should have guns in your place of worship. That’s not freedom,” Hickenlooper said.
The nation was founded on a system where everyone stands up for each other, be they Christian, Sikh, Jewish or Muslim, the governor said. “This election, in some way, is part of that, that we re-establish the priorities of our country.”
But he also pointed out that he’s been more involved in the state Senate races this year than at any other time since he’s been governor. That’s because attack ads “have been beyond the pale,” he said, mentioning races involving Rep. Brittany Pettersen in Lakewood, Tammy Story in Littleton and Rep. Faith Winter in Westminster. He’s done letters, robocalls (which he said he hates) and videos on their behalf.
“The attacks have been over the top,” he said. “I’ve stayed positive, but that’s what [the response] calls for. If you don’t believe in negative ads, the only way you can push back is to get more involved” and to do so in a positive way.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Monday is the last recommended day to mail in your 2018 ballot. After Monday, ballots should be dropped off at voting service centers or in secure lock boxes. Alton Dillard, the spokesman for Denver Elections, said there are 15 voting service centers operating in Denver, and 14 will come online throughout the week. Another 28 ballot boxes are available around the city.
Dillard warned that waiting until Election Day could mean long lines at the voting service centers due to the length of the ballot. In Denver, the ballot is three pages, front and back. He said the fastest they’ve seen someone complete the ballot at a voting center is 10 minutes. The longest? An hour and a half.
Monday is also the last day potential voters can register to vote and still receive a ballot in the mail from their county clerks. After Monday, voters can register at any voting service center, up until 6:59 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
To register or to see if your ballot has been accepted by your county clerk, go to govotecolorado.com.