Colorado’s Presidential Primary Ballots Are In The Mail — And They’re Already Out Of Date

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Drive-through voters dropped off ballots Tuesday Nov. 5 2019 at the Hiawatha Recreation Center polling station on Holly Street in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver.

OK, Colorado voters. If you're not a member of a minor party, a presidential ballot (or two) is headed your way right now. Here's what you should know.

First, if you're a registered Democrat or a Republican, you're only going to get your party's ballot. But if you are registered as unaffiliated, you get to choose. Your envelope will contain ballots for both the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries. It will likely also say in large letters and multiple times: Only return one. If you try to vote in both parties' primaries, neither will count.

Usually elections officials encourage voters to return their ballots as early as possible so they can start running them through the tabulation machines and put out results as early as possible on the election night.

But this year, voters in the Democratic primary in particular might want to rethink that approach.

Why? Because of the 18 candidates included on the Democratic presidential ballot, several are no longer running for president.

Those who dropped out after Colorado set its ballot in early January include New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and author Marianne Williamson.

And with New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary happening Tuesday night, and the contests in Nevada and South Carolina just ahead, it's likely the field could contract even more between now and Super Tuesday.

So what happens if you decide to live dangerously and cast your primary vote as soon as you get your ballot?

The Secretary of State's office says if a candidate officially files paperwork to withdraw from the race, votes for them will not be counted. But so far, the only one to make that courtesy call is John Delaney, the former representative from Maryland.

Any other candidate who announces they've withdrawn, but doesn't make it official, will still have votes for them counted.

The Republican side will also have at least one fewer name on the ballot: former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh exited the race earlier this month after finishing third in the Iowa caucuses.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick had dropped out of the race. He is still running for the Democratic nomination.