DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado voters are taking longer to return mail-in ballots than in the 2018 election.

Colorado’s Secretary of State Office reported that 1,339,399 ballots had been returned as of Monday, Nov. 7.

Colorado County Clerks Association Executive Director Matt Crane told FOX31 the result may be crowded ballot drop-off locations and a possible delay in results for tight races.

“If we do have a contest with a razor-sharp margin like that, it could be Thursday, Friday before we get any real clarity on who wins that race,” he said.

Crane pointed out that while anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot, arriving as early as possible is strongly recommended.

“If you’re going to go vote in person, especially in the afternoon, you could see longer lines,” he said.

Election Day could see ballot influx

The Problem Solvers found that at least two counties are seeing slower ballot returns than in 2018.

Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes said that as of Monday, 30% of ballots had been returned, compared to 45% by the same week in 2018. El Paso County is seeing 50,000 fewer ballots than were returned during the same week four years ago, according to Clerk Chuck Broerman.

Crane said a concern is that the sudden influx of ballots on Election Day and any additional required time to record votes will fuel the spread of misinformation about the fairness of the election.

“It’s nothing nefarious, it’s not fraud, it’s just counties work very methodically to make sure they get an accurate count of what happened,” he said.

Crane emphasizes that the entire vote recording and counting process is done by staff from both political parties.