Clerk’s Corner: Don’t spoil it!
For the first time in history, unaffiliated voters will be able to vote in primary elections without formally affiliating with a major political party. In 2016, the open primaries ballot measure passed. Previously, unaffiliated voters could only participate in primary elections by affiliating with either the Republican or Democratic Party.
Hopefully, you have seen some of the newspaper articles, Facebook posts and Twitter tweets informing unaffiliated voters about this new opportunity. Colorado Secretary of State, Wayne Williams has launched a new campaign called “UChoose” and “Don’t Spoil It.” The goal is to let unaffiliated voters know they can participate in a primary election and that they should only mark and return one ballot if they receive two in the mail.
Unaffiliated voters get to choose. UChoose which ballot you want to receive when you specify a party preference. If you don’t choose a party preference, you will receive both the Democratic and the Republican ballots in the mail. That is where the “Don’t Spoil It” comes in. If you return both the Republican and Democratic ballots, or if you vote for candidates on both ballots, your vote won’t count. So, don’t spoil your vote by returning more than one ballot.
Without a doubt, this new process is somewhat confusing, so following are the answers to some frequently asked questions.
• Who can vote in a Primary Election? Any registered voter.
• Why did I get two ballots mailed to me in the Primary Election? This means you did not specify a party preference. Most unaffiliated voters will receive the ballots from both major political parties for the Primary Election. Unaffiliated voters may only return one party’s ballot. Remember: “Don’t Spoil It!” If you return both ballots, they will both be rejected, and neither vote will count.
• If I select a ballot preference, do I have to select a ballot preference before each primary? Yes. The ballot preference is only good for one primary election. You will need to select a party preference each time.
• Does selecting a ballot preference as an unaffiliated voter mean I am joining that party? No. An unaffiliated voter who selects a ballot preference in advance of a primary election will remain unaffiliated.
• Does voting in a party’s primary as an unaffiliated voter mean I am joining that party? No. An unaffiliated voter who votes in a party’s primary will remain unaffiliated. However, his or her specified party preference will be public record.
Ballots will be mailed the week of June 4. Remember, you can vote in person or obtain a replacement ballot at the Voter Service and Polling Center, located at the Moffat County Courthouse.
We are open during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. We will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, June 26.
Until next month … Cheers!
Lila Herod is Moffat County clerk and recorder.
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.