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Unaffiliated voters are wildcard in recall race

Unaffiliated voters are wildcard in recall race

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It was a race to the finish Tuesday in the state's historic recall elections.  The big question leading into election night in Senate District 11 was the way unaffiliated voters would vote in recall election for State Sen. John Morse 

Before the polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday, more Republicans had voted in the recall election for John Morse: 5,192 Republicans had voted compared to 4, 314 Democrats. Unaffiliated voters accounted for 3,291 votes.

In the Senate District 3 recall race in Pueblo, 12,400 Democrats had voted when the polls closed Monday compared to 8,755 Republicans. 5,501 unaffiliated voters had voted in the Senate District 3 recall race.

The El Paso County Clerk's Office oversees the recall race in Senate District 11. County Clerk Wayne Williams said unaffiliated voters will have a huge impact on election results in a "swing" district like Senate District 11.

Williams' office analyzes voter trends based on past statewide elections.

In the 2012 presidential race, Democratic candidate Barack Obama got 59 percent of the vote in Senate District 11. Republican candidate Mitt Romney got 37 percent of the vote.

In the 2010 U.S. Senate race, democrat Michael Bennet captured 8 percent more votes than republican candidate Ken Buck to win the district.

Based on previous election patterns, the El Paso County Clerks Office has these estimates on voter behavior: 33 percent of voters are democrats, 25 percent of voters are republicans, 2 percent of voters associate with minor parties like libertarian, and 40 percent of voters are unaffiliated.

El Paso County Clerk's Office spokesperson Ryan Parsell said Senate District 11 has an exceptionally high number of unaffiliated voters.

"Unaffiliated voters account for almost 40 percent of all the voters in Senate District 11 so whoever wins the unaffiliated voters in Senate District 11 is probably going to win the election," said Parsell.

The boundaries of Senate District 11 were redrawn in 2011. The goal was to make it a competitive district. However, voter trends still point to a district population that tends to vote left.

Unaffiliated voters are the big question in every election.

"Based on our records and what we've seen in the past, unaffiliated voters in Senate District 11 seem to prefer democrats," said Parsell.

Parsell said at this point, it's anyone's game in the race for the senate seat. The key, will be winning unaffiliated voters.

The Pueblo County Clerk's Office uses a different system for tracking its voting results, making it difficult to analyze voting trends in major elections for a specific senate district.


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