Colorado Democrats have the lead in early voting

A week after ballots dropped in the mail, 3.6 percent of all active voters have already turned in their ballots.
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Tom Trujillo (left) and Richard Bettinger have both been working in voting offices for more than a decade. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) election; ballot; vote; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;

A week after ballots dropped in the mail, 3.6 percent of all active voters have already turned in their ballots. Those numbers aren't evenly distributed across the parties, though.

Democrats have returned 42 percent of the 113,932 ballots returned as of Monday, while Republicans have returned 32 percent of those ballots. Unaffiliated voters make up 24 percent of returned ballots, according to information provided by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.

Or put another way, 4.8 percent of active Democratic voters have returned their ballot, while just 1.1 percent of active Republican voters have.

Democrats have also returned more ballots than Republicans in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, which are generally considered bellwethers for the state. And in Pueblo, a heavily Latino, traditionally Democratic steel town that some observers saw as an opportunity for Trump, 54 percent of the early ballots have come from Democrats.

As the Denver Post notes, Republicans led in early voting in 2014, the year Sen. Cory Garnder unseated Democrat Mark Udall.

Ernest Luning at the Colorado Statesman has been tracking early returns in key swing state House and Senate districts and finds Democrats leading there as well, though Republicans are catching up in some of them.

Standard caveat: We're talking about less than 4 percent of potential voters in this election, and just because someone is a registered D or R doesn't mean they voted for that party. And of course we have unaffiliated voters who could be doing anything.

State Senate District 19, which includes Arvada and Westminster, has been the race to watch this year as Democrats hope to regain control of the state Senate. Former state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger is trying to unseat conservative Republican Sen. Laura Woods.

And in Colorado's Sixth Congressional District, where state Sen. Morgan Carroll is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, Democrats are also leading early returns.

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