I have often read that registered Democrats tend to vote later. Is this the case in Colorado with our mail in ballot? The evidence from 2016 seems to say that it is unaffiliated voters and registered Republicans who are late turning in their ballots.
Election day in 2016 was on November 8th, as late as it can be. So one week until election day fell on November 1st. The press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on early voting put out on 2016 Nov. 2 had the following voting breakdown:
| Dec. 5
So this has Democrats returning 23,187 more ballots around a week out than Republicans and making up a plurality of 36.94% of the total electorate at that point. By the end of the election were ahead by 19,140 ballots and were 33.38% of the total electorate. The unaffiliated vote surged up to be around 1/3 of the total from only being around 1/4. Likewise the minor parties all increased their percentage of the electorate by the time all valid ballots were received.
So what does this suggest for 2018? Well the Democrats are not doing well relative to this time in the presidential election. They are probably doing well relative to their usual performance in midterm elections. SoS Press Release for Oct. 31, 2018.
As usual, the total votes are down in a midterm election, so nothing unexpected there.
If the pattern is the same as last cycle then ballots from Republican affiliated voters will will pull ahead by about 2.5%, though the surge of unaffiliated voters should give many Democrats a win on election night. Unaffiliated voters are already ahead of where their ballot returns were in the last cycle and if that holds their percentage of the voting electorate may exceed that of the major parties for the first time. It also could be that Democrats were just unusually fast to turn in ballots in 2016 because they were totally clear on who they wanted to vote against.