You’ve got mail! Seriously. If you are one of Colorado’s 1.2 million unaffiliated, active registered voters, make sure to check your mailbox this week because primary election ballots are en route to your home. Yes, you read that correctly: ballots (plural). Thanks to Proposition 108, unaffiliated voters will now have a chance to weigh in on which major party candidates will make the general election ballot. (ICYMI, there’s a lot at stake, as Colorado is choosing a new governor, among other important elected officials.) But there’s a catch: You can’t vote in both the Republican and Democratic primaries.
Let’s back up for a minute: Colorado used to have a closed primary system, in which you could only vote in a party’s primary if you were a member of that party. But as the number of unaffiliated voters grew—this pool is now more than one-third of active, registered voters—so did a movement to include unaffiliated voters in primary elections. On November 8, 2016, Centennial State voters passed Proposition 108, which expanded primary elections to include unaffiliated voters. A big unknown is how many unaffiliated voters will cast primary ballots now that they have the option (primaries typically have low turnout in comparison to general elections).
This primary election—June 26—will help answer that question. Most unaffiliated voters will receive both Republican and Democratic primary ballots (there was an option to sign up to receive just one, but that deadline has passed), and can only vote in one contest. (Check out our Q&A with Secretary of State Wayne Williams to learn more). Voters registered with a party will receive that party’s ballot.
Visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website to check your voter registration status—Not registered? What are you waiting for?—and find out when your ballot was mailed. And, don’t forget: Only return one ballot if you receive two. If you return both, neither will count.