DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is getting bluer, even if it is a purplish blue.
Colorado has three statewide measures on the ballot for an November 2021 election: a fiscal accountability amendment, a tax increase for marijuana sellers and a property tax cut. The Colorado Secretary of State will begin mailing ballots to voters on Oct. 8 ahead of election day.
The ballot initiatives could test the state’s growing conservative/liberal divide. Two of the measures Proposition 119 and Proposition 120 — have been sponsored and promoted by Michael Fields, executive director of conservative Colorado Rising Action.
Fields is also a political analyst for FOX31.
The measures lean into Republican goals. While Colorado is a relatively low tax state, its voter rolls have gotten more and more Democratic, even as the state adds mainly unaffiliated voters.
Since last September, the state has gained far more Democratic voters than Republican ones. There are now 29,227 more registered active voters in the state than in September — 10 times the 3,117 Republican voters the state gained in the same time period.
Gains to the relatively minor Libertarian Party outnumbered Republican voter gains by more than 1,000.
Still, by far the biggest party gains happened with unaffiliated voters. Colorado has 189,280 more independents now than it had in September 2020.
Purple though they might be in name, records show those voters are more blue than red.
Unaffiliated voters are allowed to list a party preference on their registration if they choose. Not all do, but far more of those who do prefer one party prefer the Democratic Party.
Of unaffiliated voters, 59% swing blue. Republican-leaning unaffiliated voters are only half as many, making up 31% of the party preference whole.
Largely, this follows population trends. As Colorado has exploded with in-migrants from other states, its Front Range counties have gotten less Republican as they’ve gotten more populous.
The map above charts the difference between the number of Democrats and Republicans gained in each county since last September 2020. Deeper-colored states gained more of that party than the other.
The counties that gained more Democrats than Republicans in the highest amount were almost entirely in the Front Range. Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, in particular, added 10,000 more Democrats than Republicans.
Most counties outside the Denver metro, though, got redder, but not by the same margin that metro counties got bluer.
Mesa and Weld counties got the largest amount of Republicans over Democrats. Even combined though, they only gained 1,000 more red than blue voters.