Colorado voters will be busy in 2020. They’ll be able to participate in at least three elections with local, state and national implications.
There’s a lot at stake and a lot of questions to answer:
The biggest issue nationally will be the presidency of the United States. Will Americans choose four more years of Donald Trump after his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives?
Will the blue wave of 2018 that led to Democratic control of the U.S. House and Colorado’s government continue to surge across the country? Or will it be countered by a Republican red wave?
Close to home, party control of the Larimer County board of commissioners will be at stake as two of its three seats will be up for election. Current Republican commissioners Steve Johnson and Tom Donnelly are term limited.
Statewide, voters could face a long ballot loaded with issues to decide. Potential topics include reintroducing the gray wolf, banning late-term abortions, and allocating Colorado’s votes in the Electoral College.
Election season starts early with a March 3 presidential primary followed by a June 6 general primary for county, state and federal offices and the Nov. 3 general election.
Officials are already gearing up for the big events, said Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers.
There are deadlines set by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office that must be met in advance of voters casting ballots. Certification of the March 3 ballot is scheduled to be done Jan. 3.
“My people will come back from the holidays and be ready to hit the ground running,” Myers said.
Larimer County expects to hire several hundred temporary election judges to work during the three elections. Judges are paid minimum wage unless they are in a supervisory position.
More judges are always needed, Myers said. For information on how to become a judge, visit votelarimer.org.
Here’s a breakdown of what voters need to know going into 2020:
When are 2020 elections?
The primary election for presidential candidates only is March 3. Ballots will be mailed the week of Feb. 10.
The primary election for all other federal, state and local offices is June 30. Ballots will be mailed the week of June 8.
The General Election for federal, state and local offices as well as state and local ballot questions is Nov. 3. Ballots will be mailed the week of Oct. 12.
Who can vote in Colorado primaries?
In Colorado, voters affiliated with major and minor parties may vote in those parties’ respective primaries and will receive mail-in ballots.
Unaffiliated voters may participate in major party primaries, but not minor party primaries.
Unaffiliated voters may choose which primary ballot they receive by making a party preference at govotecolorado.com or on a paper registration form.
Otherwise, they will receive ballots for the Republican and Democratic primaries and must choose which, if either, to cast. If someone casts both ballots, neither will be counted.
Does voting in a party’s primary make me a member of that party?
No. However, the fact that you voted in a party primary becomes a matter of public record. How you voted is not.
Can I change party affiliation and vote in another party’s primary?
Yes. Changing party affiliation may be done up to 29 days before the primary. For the March 3 primary, the deadline is Feb. 3. For the June primary, the deadline is June 1.
Voter registrations may be changed online through the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office at www.GoVoteColorado.com.
May 17-year-olds vote in Colorado primaries?
Yes, if they will be 18 years old by the Nov. 3 general election.
When are Colorado party caucuses?
Those will still happen, but the presidential race won’t be at stake. Caucuses for Republicans and Democrats are scheduled for March 7.
Registered party members will gather for precinct caucuses, which essentially are neighborhood meetings, to select people to attend the parties’ county assemblies.
At the assemblies, if there are multiple candidates seeking the party’s nomination for an elected office, the candidates will vie to get enough support to be placed on the June 30 primary ballot.
If that doesn’t work out for a candidate, they can petition to get on the primary ballot.
County assembly participants select representatives to state assemblies, which decide who goes on primary ballots for offices elected statewide.
What Colorado offices are up for election in 2020?
A lot, including federal, state and local elected positions. Here are selected races of local interest and incumbent office holders:
- President/vice president of the United States (Donald Trump/Mike Pence)
- U.S. Senate (Cory Gardner)
- U.S. House of Representatives Colorado 2nd District (Joe Neguse)
- State Senate 14 (Joann Ginal)
- State Senate 23 (Vicki Marble, term limited)
- State House 51 (Hugh McKean)
- State House 52 (Cathy Kipp)
- State House 53 (Jeni Arndt, term limited)
- District Attorney 8 (Cliff Riedel, term limited)
- Larimer County commissioner District 2 (Steve Johnson, term limited)
- Larimer County commissioner District 3 (Tom Donnelly, term limited)
Who’s running for office in 2020?
Here are announced candidates as of Dec. 18, according to state and federal election sites: The presidential primary ballot will be set on Jan. 3:
Republican Presidential Primary
- Robert Andini
- Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente
- Zoltan G. Istvan
- Matthew John Matern
- Donald J. Trump
- Joe Walsh
- Bill Weld
Democratic Presidential Primary
- Michael Bennet
- Joseph R. Biden
- Michael R. Bloomberg
- Cory Booker
- Pete Buttigieg
- Julián Castro
- John K. Delaney
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Amy Klobuchar
- Rita Krichevsky
- Deval Patrick
- Bernie Sanders
- Tom Steyer
- Elizabeth Warren
- Robby Wells
- Marianne Williamson
- Andrew Yang
- Cory Gardner (incumbent)
- Diana Bray
- Lorena Garcia
- David Goldfischer
- John Hickenlooper
- Andrew Romanoff
- Stephany Rose Spaulding
- Michelle Ferrigno Warren
- Trish Zornio
2nd Congressional District
- Joe Neguse, Democratic (incumbent)
- William Cutcher, Republican
- Alex Johnson, Independent
- Mark Matyi, no party
Larimer County commissioner District 2 (central county)
- Jeff Jensen
- Robert McCluskey
- Deborah Shulman
- Kristin Stephens
- William Wright
Larimer County commissioner District 3 (south county)
- Ben Aste
- Aislinn Kottwitz
- Kimberly Akeley-Charron
- Myles Baker
- Jody Shadduck-McNally
- Karen Stockley
State ballot issues
(For the Nov. 3 election, as of Dec. 18)
National Popular Vote: Voters are being asked to affirm a bill passed by the state Legislature that enters Colorado into an agreement with other states through which all of a state’s electoral votes for president would go to the winner of the presidential popular vote.
Citizenship Qualification of Electors: A proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution requiring that to be qualified to vote at any election an individual must be a United States citizen.
Important election dates
Feb. 3: Last day for voters who are affiliated with a political party to change or withdraw their affiliation if they wish to vote in a different party’s primary election for president (March 3).
Feb. 10: First day mail ballots for the March 3 presidential primary election may be mailed to voters.
Feb. 14: Last day to affiliate with the Republican or Democratic parties to vote in the March 7 party caucuses.
Feb. 24: Last day for an individual to submit a voter registration application and receive a ballot in the mail for the March 3 presidential primary. After this date, an applicant must visit a polling center to receive a ballot.
March 3: Presidential primary election. All ballots must be received by the county clerk by 7 p.m.
March 7: Republican and Democratic parties’ precinct caucus day.
April 1: Last day for Republican and Democratic parties to hold county assemblies.
June 1: Last day for voters who are affiliated with a political party to change or withdraw their affiliation if they want to vote in a different party’s June 30 primary election.
June 8: First day mail ballots for the June 30 primary election may be mailed to voters.
June 22: Last day for an individual to submit a voter registration application and receive a ballot in the mail for the June 30 primary. After this date, an applicant must visit a polling center to receive a ballot.
June 30: Primary election day. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: First day mail ballots for the Nov. 3 General Election may be mailed to voters.
Oct. 26: Last day for an individual to submit a voter registration application and receive a ballot in the mail for the General Election. After this date, voters must go to a polling center to receive a ballot.
Nov. 3: General Election Day. All ballots are due to the county clerk by 7 p.m.
Kevin Duggan is a columnist and reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @coloradoan-dugg.
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