For the first time in two decades, voters in Colorado will participate in a presidential primary rather than a caucus. El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman provides some insight on what voters should expect as they fill out their ballots.
On why Colorado switched to the Super Tuesday primary:
Twenty years ago, we had a presidential primary in Colorado. However, the date of the primary was really late in the process, such that by time it came to Coloradoans to vote in the presidential primary, it usually wasn't of much note because already the candidates had kind of locked up the nomination. So we weren't relevant. It was [also] tight financially [at that time] for the state and for counties. That's why both parties had decided, to look at [the system] again and work do it in a way...that it's more meaningful. That's when Governor Polis decided [to] line this up with Super Tuesday so we can be more relevant and that play into the national debate.
On what unaffiliated voters can expect when receiving and sending their ballots:
In a primary election, you — in essence — have two elections going on. You can only participate in one at a time. So for unaffiliated voters, they get both ballots unless they've indicated beforehand they had a preference. You return one. You can't vote two — if you vote both of them, that cancels your vote. That's state law.
On what happens if you vote for a candidate who is on the ballot, but has withdrawn from the race:
If they have officially withdrawn but are still on the ballot, we won't tabulate their votes. It's important for citizens to educate themselves to know the current nature of the various candidates. If the [candidate] has just suspended their [candidacy], we will tabulate them and that will be available for voters to see on election night.
Note: Because ballots must be printed ahead of time in order to be mailed out, several candidates who are no longer running for president are still listed on the ballot the upcoming primary. Voting for a candidate who has withdrawn means your vote will not count.
On election security, and how are votes recorded in Colorado:
There's been a number of national publications — The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times — have recognized the security of our elections. Your vote is your indication to your leaders of the direction you want the country to go and we don't want to erode that confidence by not doing it appropriately.
We'll use much the process that is utilized in our other elections. We're using the same methods on Super Tuesday and we're using the same equipment. We have bipartisan teams. We have members of the two major parties that are participating being that watchdog that extra to make sure that we're fair, transparent, accurate in our elections.
To register to vote, update your registration, find a polling place, and more visit the Colorado Secretary of State's website.