County vote turnout passes 50 percent mark

Turnout in Mesa County exceeded 50 percent on Tuesday, a week before the last chance to win over voters on Election Day.

Statewide, nearly 1 million voters had cast ballots as of Tuesday and statistics from the Secretary of State’s Office showed Republican voters turning out a slightly higher rate than Democrats, 371,000 to 344,000, or 38 percent to 36 percent. More than 241,000 unaffiliated voters, or 25 percent, also had cast ballots, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

In Mesa County, officials logged in 38,084 ballots as of Wednesday, a little more than half of the county’s 76,000 active voters.

Officials with President Barack Obama’s campaign said long-term preparations will pay off this week, even though early indications lean to the Republicans.

“We have been building the organization that will deliver the votes we need to win Colorado’s nine electoral votes for four years now,” spokeswoman Kim Parker said. “We never left Colorado after the 2008 election and have maintained an ongoing conversation with voters ever since then to methodically assemble the most robust grassroots organization in Colorado history.”

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call said the GOP also has been working hard to get out its vote for presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“Enthusiasm in our state is at an all-time high,” Call said. “Our statewide operation has already made more than 2.6 million voter contacts” on both sides of the Continental Divide.

In 2008, Democrats turned out in greater numbers and had a slight, 2 percentage point turnout advantage a week before Election Day.

In Mesa County, Republicans enjoyed a more lopsided advantage.

In mail balloting, Republicans accounted for half of all returned ballots, or 16,076. Democrats accounted for 7,645 ballots, or 24 percent, and unaffiliated voters, 8,194, or 25 percent. Voters registered with minor parties accounted for 1 percent, or 308 ballots, Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner said, referring to mid-day analysis of the balloting.

Republicans enjoyed an even greater advantage in early voting, accounting for 1,873 votes or 53 percent of early voting ballots. Democrats accounted for 630 ballots, or 19 percent, and unaffiliated voters, 899, or 27 percent. Voters affiliated with other parties accounted for 36 votes, or 1 percent of early voters.

Early votes are cast on paper ballots or touch-screen machines in voter-service centers around the Grand Valley.

Republicans enjoy a strong registration advantage in Mesa County, accounting for 46 percent of active voters. Unaffiliated voters account for 32 percent and Democrats, 21 percent. One percent are affiliated with minor parties.

In other western Colorado counties, GOP turnout was similarly strong.

Among the 7,700 voters who cast ballots in Delta County, 1,681 were Democrats, 4,199 Republicans and 1,747 unaffiliated, with the rest affiliated with minor parties.

In Garfield County, the total was 8,357, of which 2,423 were Democrats, 3,371 Republicans, 2,446 unaffiliated and the rest part of minor parties.

In Montrose County, 9,811 people had cast ballots; 2,157 Democrats, 5,048 Republicans, 1,163 unaffiliated voter and others connected to minor parties, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.


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