Oct 23, 2020 | NEWS | By Hank Bedingfield | Illustration by Xixi Qin

In Colorado, 640,000 voters have already returned ballots for the 2020 election.

“Statewide in-person early voting is now open, in addition to vote-by-mail,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold tweeted, spurring voters onward. “Let’s keep this incredibly high participation going, Colorado.”

As of Monday, Oct. 19, early in-person voting is now an option for polling locations across the state, in addition to the continued option of mail-in voting.

Here are some tips and deadlines for voting in Colorado:

  • Mail-in ballots are recommended to be mailed by Oct. 26.
  • Ballots can be dropped off at one of over 350 drop boxes across the state, through 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
  • Voting locations are open through 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
  • Voter registration is open at voting locations across Colorado through 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

This opportunity begins in the context of unprecedented early voting across Colorado. Colorado, where voter turnout was above the national average in 2016, is surging with election enthusiasm in 2020. Before early in-person voting opened this past Monday, mail-in voting was already 2,377% greater than in 2016.

“It’s great for democracy to see so many Coloradans making their voices heard,” Griswold told the Denver Post. “Even with ballots still being mailed this week to registered voters, turnout is 24 times higher than at this point in 2016.”

All early voting, however, has not been equal. The Secretary of State’s office indicates a gap in early voting between Republicans and Democrats. Colorado Democrats, recorded by state records as 30% of the state’s registered voters, make up 46% of the early votes. However, Republicans, accounting for 27% of the state’s registered voters, only make up 19% of the early ballots.

This information reflects the overwhelming enthusiasm of Biden voters, as recorded by the September poll of Colorado voters. 87% of Biden supporters said they were “extremely motivated” compared to 80% of Trump supporters who felt as motivated.

This news, while encouraging for Democrats, should be viewed with cautious optimism. President Trump, in his repeated and redoubled attempts to cast doubt on COVID-19 and mail-in voting, has undoubtedly deterred many of his supporters from voting any way but in-person. While this rhetoric has likely dissuaded Trump voters from voting early, the trend is worth noting, nonetheless.

“While there is no reason right now to suspect that Republican turnout will be depressed,” Ryan Winger of the Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies, told the Denver Post, “with every day that goes by that this trend continues it will be worrisome for Republican candidates.”

With in-person early voting now open in every county of the state, voting numbers and statistics are sure to change. The Biden camp has a lead to lose and the Colorado GOP has some ground to make up.

As unprecedented voting matches an unprecedented election, the coming weeks are sure to test the state and nation’s infrastructure and collective consciousness. The Colorado GOP may have a moment of reckoning as Nov. 3 nears.

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