Colorado is one of 26 states in the country which have what's called a "closed primary," meaning voters need to affiliate with a party to participate in the nomination of candidates to the November ballot.
Unaffiliated voters, who represent roughly a third of all Colorado voters, have received notices in the mail from the respective county clerks reminding them of the need to change their registration if they want to vote in the Aug. 10 election. They can do so as late as Election Day if they so choose, but they have to declare party affiliation to vote. Republicans have primaries for governor and U.S. Senate, Democrats have a primary for U.S. Senate and Libertarians have primaries in both of those races.
"This is everyone's opportunity to participate," Secretary of State Bernie Buescher (D-Colorado) said. "There's always frustration around the political process and so forth, but the way to influence it is to get out and vote."
The Secretary of State has created a website (www.govotecolorado.com) for Coloradans who wish to register for the election. All that's needed is a valid Colorado driver's license.
The majority of Coloradans will cast their votes by mail next month. A 2009 law passed by state lawmakers allowed counties to conduct primary elections by mail and this summer, 46 of the state's 64 counties have chosen to do so. They can save up to 2/3rds of their traditional election-related costs in the process.
"Voters in most counties are going to see an all-mail ballot election and a good part of that is driven by election costs," Buescher said. "It's an enormous savings to the counties and in this time of tight budgets, everybody's looking to save every penny they can."
Along the Front Range, every county except for Weld and El Paso will be holding their primary elections by mail. Ballots will begin to be sent to voters the week of July 19.
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