Nearly 1 million votes have been cast so far in the Colorado primary

Courtney Leas casrs a ballot on primary election day at the Barnum Recreation Center, June 26, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Courtney Leas casrs a ballot on primary election day at the Barnum Recreation Center, June 26, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

AP_LOGO_02

It’s the last day for Colorado voters to have their say on who should represent the Republican and Democratic parties in this year’s political races, including the one to succeed term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As of 4:50 p.m., more than 983,000 Coloradans have voted so far in Tuesday’s primary election.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office says Democrats cast 385,470 ballots, Republicans 362,590 ballots, and unaffiliated voters 235,643 ballots.

That’s the count more than two hours before polls close at 7 p.m.

Colorado has 3.8 million people eligible to vote.

A voter-passed initiative in 2016 allows Colorado’s 1.2 million active independent voters, the state’s largest voting bloc, to cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican races, but not both.

Ryan Greene, a 27-year-old independent voter from Denver, says he’s voting in Colorado’s midterm primary for the first time thanks to a new law opening party elections to unaffiliated voters.Greene said Tuesday he voted for Democrat Mike Johnston in the governor’s race — and that he chose the Democratic primary because he believes the country has swung too dramatically to the right, politically.

“I’ve seen what I need to see from the right side,” Greene says.

He says his top issues are gun violence — “and honestly, rent and student loans.”

“We’ve got more student debt than credit card debt in this country and that’s going to really bite us here. I see friends struggling for years.”

The results of the primary election in one western Colorado county could be delayed until Thursday or Friday.

Election officials say Montrose County ballots will have to be counted by hand because of a problem with the barcodes printed on them.

The announcement from the county says ballots will be counted in batches of 25 by a three-person bipartisan team. County election staff and staff from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office will participate.

The largely Republican county has about 27,000 eligible voters, less than 1 percent of the state’s total. As of Tuesday morning, about 8,600 had voted.