Republicans maintain lead in Colorado early voting

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DENVER — Close to a million Colorado voters have already returned their ballots, according to the latest numbers from the Secretary of State’s office released on Tuesday.

And registered Republicans have turned in about three percent more ballots overall than Democrats, a notable shift from four years ago, when Democrats held a two-point edge in early voting a week before Election Day.

So far, 370,982 registered Republicans have returned ballots, accounting for 38.4 percent of the overall number.

Democrats, meanwhile, have turned in 343,721 ballots — or 35.6 percent overall.

Unaffiliated voters have returned 241,294 ballots, which makes up 25 percent of the overall tally to date.

Republicans are upbeat about the numbers, which they believe indicate a much improved voter turnout operation and an overall enthusiasm advantage.

Democrats, however, are confident that the early numbers merely reflect that Republican voters are more likely to vote early generally; they believe the Obama turnout machine will drive up the number of low frequency voters who turn in ballots and that more unaffiliated voters will vote Democratic, as they’ve done in recent statewide elections.

According to an average of polls, Colorado remains one of the closest of seven remaining swing states; and its nine electoral votes, depending on what happens in states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Iowa, could decide which candidate wins the White House.