Guest opinion: Note to all in RGC on how to vote in Primary Election

Colorado’s unaffiliated/independent voters can now vote in Primary Elections!

Thanks to a recent change, if you are a registered voter in Colorado, you can participate in the 2018 Primary Election without affiliating with a political party. This means that for the first time, unaffiliated (also known as independent) voters can vote in the Primary without changing their registration.

What is the difference between a Primary and a General Election?

In the Primary, if there is more than one qualifying candidate from the Republican or  Democratic party for a particular office, those candidates are placed on the June Primary ballot. Then the winning candidate from each of the parties will be listed on the November General Election ballot. The winner of the November General Election will be the person elected to that office.

Ways to Vote

1. Be a properly registered and party affiliated voter (Republican, Democratic, etc.) and vote in their respective party’s Primary Election.

2. If a voter who is affiliated with one political party wants to vote in a different party’s Primary Election, the last day to change their party affiliation is May 29.

a. Example: If there is just one or no Democrat running in a Primary for a particular office, but there are two candidates running for a Republican seat, a voter who is registered as a Democrat may change his/her party affiliation to either Unaffiliated or Republican and then vote in the Republican Primary. The voter can easily change his/her affiliation to another party or to Unaffiliated on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.  Simply go to

(1) Elections & Voting, (2) Voters, and (3) Register on-line. You can also go to the Rio Grande County Clerk’s office in Del Norte for assistance.

3. An unaffiliated voter may cast a ballot for any one political party. Only one ballot can be mailed in to be counted. Note that if an unaffiliated voter returns multiple ballots for more than one major political party, both ballots will be rejected and none of the votes will be counted for that particular unaffiliated voter.

If you are an unaffiliated voter you have options to consider.

1.  You can choose in advance which party’s Primary ballot you want to vote.

2. Or you can receive a packet containing the ballots of all participants for all of the major parties.

Most unaffiliated voters will receive the ballots of both major political parties during a Primary Election. This allows an unaffiliated voter to choose in which party’s Primary they will vote.

Note:  Unaffiliated voters may only return one party’s ballot. Returning two voted ballots will result in neither ballot counting.

Does selecting a ballot preference for a party as an unaffiliated voter mean that you are joining that party? 

No, you will remain unaffiliated. An unaffiliated voter who selects a ballot preference in advance of a Primary election will remain unaffiliated. What this does, however, is give the unaffiliated voter a voice in the Primary Elections. Sometimes this will decide the ultimate winner of the office, especially in rural communities where there may not be candidates from both parties running for office.

Date for 2018 Primary: 

Colorado’s 2018 Primary Election will be June 26.

How to Vote:

By Mail: Every voter now receives a mail-in ballot at the mailing address provided through their voter registration file. To check the address on file for your voter registration visit

At the Polls: If you would like to vote at the polls, you can surrender your mail-in ballot and vote in-person at the Rio Grande County Clerk’s office, which is located in the Annex building in Del Norte at 965 6th Street in Del Norte. 

Drop box for your ballot:  There is also a  ballot drop box at the Annex in Del Norte if you wish to drop your ballot off outside of working hours

Please vote!

This is the first election in Colorado that will allow unaffiliated voters to participate in the Primary Election. All voters are encouraged to have their voices heard in this important part of the election process! 

For assistance or with any questions, please contact:

Rio Grande County Clerk for local information at:  719-657-3334

Secretary of State for statewide and voter registration information at:



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