New Rules In Effect As Unaffiliated Voters Participate In Primary Elections

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Ballots for the 2018 Primary Election are arriving in voter's mailboxes this week. There is a change in the process this year, though, as unaffiliated voters are now able to cast votes in the primary. El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman shares details what voters should expect. 

On why unaffiliated voters are now able to participate

In 2016 in the presidential election, voters had before them proposition 108 that allowed citizens who are unaffiliated voters to participate in a partisan primary. So unaffiliated voters will be able to participate in either the democratic or republican primary for the first time.

On what unaffiliated voters can expect

For unaffiliated voters, you will get both ballots; just vote one and return only that one. In essence what's happening on a primary is you have two simultaneous elections going on—you have the democratic election and the republican primary election. You're only, by law, allowed to vote in one election at a time.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman.
Credit Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC
El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman.

On how the change has affected the pre-election process

It's a lot of work, I mean, 140,000 more voters are going to be participating [in the primary election] because of that. So that's a bit more cost. It will probably will cost El Paso County— between the postage and the labor and processing— $200,000. But that's good money spent to engage people and make them a part of the political process.

On voter security in Colorado

There was a number of articles that came out, that [according to] their analysis Colorado is the safest place in the country to vote. And there's many reasons for that. In Colorado, the Clerk and Recorders and the Secretary of State, we work very well together and we have worked over many, many years to process the ballot, to assure that every step of the way we have a chain of custody and that we have a bipartisan team of folks that is at every step.

On what races will be on the ballot

I think probably the one that has the greatest visibility is for governor. You have the state treasurer's race; both those incumbents are term limited so those are open seats. You have all of our state representatives seats that are up. Half of our state senate seats that are up. You have our U.S. congress-persons race and then you have all the county-wide officials from sheriff to the assessor to the treasurer to the coroner, the surveyor, and even yours' truly the clerk and recorder...we'll all up this election.

[Sample ballots can be viewed here.]

On how to register 

If you are already registered to vote, you'll be getting a mail-in ballot. If you have not registered can go to and you can register online. You can do that up until election day. 

On how ballots can be returned

The postage on a return ballot is just one first class stamp. In El Paso County we also have 15 drop boxes that are conveniently located. The average person is within just a few minutes, probably about ten minutes is where 92 percent of the people are from a drop box, and they can drop it off without any cost of a stamp. 

All voted ballots must be returned to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, June 26, to be counted. Postmarked ballots received after the deadline will not be counted.