Guest commentary: Primary election decoded

It is already the first week of June, in an action-packed election year. Here in my office we are not focused on who the candidates are or what they are saying. Instead, we are entirely focused on administration – ensuring that every eligible elector who wishes to vote can and that every vote cast is efficiently and accurately counted. Here are some important reminders:

By Angela Myers, Larimer County Clerk and Recorder

• Election Day is June 28. Ballots are at the printer as I write and will be sent to voters the week of June 6th. It’s important to understand that Colorado is an all mail ballot state – every active registered voter who is affiliated with the Democratic or Republican party will receive a ballot in the mail. This means that the USPS will be delivering ballots all across the state this same week – they may take a few days to arrive. Call us at 970-498-7820 if you don’t receive your ballot by June 15th.

• You must be registered to vote in order to receive a ballot. Colorado is also a same-day registration state – you can register to vote up until 7 p.m. (close of polls) on Election Day. Those registering by June 20th will receive a ballot in the mail – after that date, registering and voting can be done at a Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC).

• You must be affiliated with the Democratic or Republican Party in order to receive a ballot. Unaffiliated voters (more than a third of the Larimer electorate) must affiliate in order to vote in a primary election and can do so up until 7 p.m. on Election Day. The primary election does not place a candidate into office, it is instead an opportunity for each of the major parties to determine who will represent their party on the General Election ballot in November. The November ballot determines the candidate that is actually elected into office.

Once you receive your ballot:

• Consider voting at your earliest opportunity. Voting removes you from political phone and mailing lists. Voting early also indicates to us that Election Night results are important to you. There are many time consuming steps involved in processing each mail ballot – signature verification, disassembly, counting. If we receive more than 20,000 ballots on Election Day, we will likely have to finish counting the next day, rather than Election Night.

• Sign ONLY your own ballot. It is against the law to attempt to vote twice. Remember, we cannot open your ballot envelope until we confirm that the signature on that envelope is yours. Do NOT sign someone else’s ballot envelope for them, and be sure (before signing) that you don’t accidentally swap your ballot envelope with someone else’s in your household.

• Be responsible for your own ballot and make sure it is in our hands by 7p on Election Day. We handle your voted ballot with great care – you should too – don’t hand it to a ballot collector. A postmark does not count as a delivery date. Mailing your voted ballot to us is a great option early on; however, after June 17th, we recommend that you drop the voted ballot at one of our many convenient drop sites. Go to votelarimer.org for a list of those sites – and for the location of our 24-hour drop boxes and VSPCs.

There’s no need to wonder – go to www.votelarimer.org to check the status of your registration, your voted ballot, voting and ballot drop sites, etc. As your Clerk, it is important to me that you are informed about the process.

Follow us on our very active Facebook and Twitter for in-the-moment updates: https://facebook.com/LarimerCountyClerkAndRecorder/ and https://twitter.com/Larimer_Clerk.

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