Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold


Common Questions about the June 30, 2020 Primary Election

Q1. What am I voting for on the June 30, 2020 Primary ballot?

A1. When voting in a primary election, your vote counts toward nominating a candidate to appear on the general election ballot to represent a specific party. After the primary, the winner will get nominated by the party as their official candidate for the general election.


Q2. What is the difference between a primary and a general election?

A2. The State of Colorado holds regularly scheduled state elections every two years; a state Primary Election in June and a General election in November. In presidential election years, the state also holds a presidential primary election in March.

The nominated candidates from each party's primary ballot will be placed on the November General Election ballot. The winner of the November General Election will hold office.


Q3. What is the difference between a primary and a caucus? Is there still a caucus?

A3. A primary is held by the State and allows all registered voters to participate, including those who are currently 17 and will be 18 by the time of the election. Individuals registered with a specific party will get to vote on who the candidate will be to represent that party, while unaffiliated voters may cast a vote for any one political party of their choosing. Like any election, ballots for the primary will be mailed out.

The caucus is hosted by the political party and also functions to nominate leaders for the political party. In 2020 presidential candidates will be chosen through the primary system in Colorado, not the caucus. Parties will still conduct caucuses but, these meetings will not select presidential candidates.

Primary Elections FAQs


Q4. Who can vote in a Primary Election?

A4. During the June primary:

  • Voters affiliated with a major party: may cast a ballot for candidates of the party they are affiliated with.
  • Voters affiliated with a minor party: if there is a minor party contest, those affiliated with that minor party may cast a ballot for those candidates.
  • Unaffiliated voters: An unaffiliated voter may cast a ballot in the Republican, Democratic, or Libertarian primary. If an unaffiliated voter return more than one political party ballot, all ballots will be rejected and none of the votes will be counted.


Q5. Due to Covid-19, is the June 30 Primary election still proceeding as planned?

A5. Yes, the June 30 Primary will occur. All voters will receive a ballot in the mail at the same time they typically would for an election.


Q6. Will I still be able to vote in-person for the June 30 Primary?

A6. Yes, but some locations across the state may be limited. Please reach out to your county clerk and recorder for more information.

Returning the ballot that you were mailed will help election officials and you adhere to social distancing standards. Please consider returning your mailed ballot through the mail or to a county drop box if you are able.


Q7. When do ballots get mailed out and when will I get mine?

A7. Mail ballots start getting mailed out 22 days before the election.  You should receive your ballot between 20 to 15 days before the election, depending on when your county clerk sent it out and the timing of the postal service.


Q8. Why did my 17-year-old get a ballot?

A8. If someone is 17 on the date of a presidential primary election or a state primary election, and will be 18 on the date of the next general election, they are entitled to vote in the presidential primary election and state primary election. If that person is registered to vote, they will receive a ballot.


Q9. Why did I get two ballots?

A9. You are registered as Unaffiliated and get to choose which party’s ballot you want to vote. Most Unaffiliated voters will receive ballots for both major political parties during a primary election. This allows the Unaffiliated voter to choose which party’s primary they will vote in. Unaffiliated voters can only return one party’s voted ballot.

Primary Elections FAQs


Q10. Why do unaffiliated voters get to vote twice?

A10. They do not get to vote twice. Unaffiliated voters get to choose which party’s ballot they’d like to fill out but may only return one voted ballot. If two voted ballots are returned by one person, neither will be counted.


Q11. Why didn’t I get two ballots? Or why did I get THIS (party specific) ballot?

A11. This can happen for two reasons:

  • You are affiliated with a specific party and as such, should have only received that party’s ballot.
  • You are an Unaffiliated voter who has indicated a ballot preference for the party’s ballot you received for this election.


Q12. I stated a preference last year, but this year I got two ballots, why?

A12. A ballot preference is only good for one election. To select the preference again for the next election, visit, or make the selection on any paper voter registration form.


Q13. Why can’t I choose (vote for) BOTH a democrat and a republican? (ex. Dem governor, Rep senator, etc.)

A13. During a primary, you can only vote in one party’s primary. A registered Democrat will receive and may cast votes on the Democratic ballot, a registered Republican will receive and may cast votes on the Republican ballot, and Unaffiliated voters will receive and may cast a vote on either the Democrat or Republican ballots, but not both. Allowing Unaffiliated voters to vote in both primaries would give them more voting power than affiliated voters. If an Unaffiliated voter returns two voted ballots, neither will be counted.


Q14. What do I do with the extra (un-voted) ballot?

A14. Please shred or otherwise dispose the ballot you are not voting on.

Election day FAQs


Q15. Besides the two major parties in Colorado (Democratic and Republican) are any minor parties participating in the June 30, 2020 Primary?

A15. Yes. The Libertarian party is holding a primary election on June 30, 2020.


Q16. Can an unaffiliated voter cast a vote for a Libertarian party candidate on the June 30, 2020 Libertarian Primary party ballot?

A16. Yes. For this June 30, 2020 Primary election, unaffiliated voters may vote for candidates on the Libertarian Party ballot.


Q17. How do I receive a Libertarian Party ballot in the mail?

A17. If you are affiliated with the Libertarian party, then you will receive only a Libertarian Party primary ballot in the mail. A change to or a withdrawal of an affiliation may be made up to 29 days before the election.

If you are an unaffiliated voter, you must indicate a ballot preference on your voter registration in order to receive a Libertarian ballot in the mail. Otherwise, you will receive a ballot packet with only the two major party primary ballots.


Q18. What if I did not indicate a Libertarian Party ballot preference, received a ballot packet containing only the major party ballots, and I still want to vote the Libertarian party ballot?

A18. You are still entitled to vote a Libertarian ballot as an unaffiliated voter. If you did not receive the Libertarian Party ballot in the mail, then you must visit your county clerk in-person or a Voter Service and Polling Center in-person in order to vote a Libertarian Party primary ballot.


Q19. As an unaffiliated voter, does voting in the Libertarian Party’s primary mean that I am joining that party?

A19. No. An unaffiliated voter who votes in a party's primary will remain unaffiliated. However, the primary that you vote in will be a public record (but not how you voted).


Q20. Can there be watchers at a VSPC for the Libertarian Party?

A20. Yes. The Libertarian Party can send watchers to a VSPC.


Q21. I’m unaffiliated and want to stay that way, who will know what ballot I cast? Is it anonymous?

A21. Who you voted for is always anonymous. Processing unaffiliated ballots is conducted by election judges. The envelope itself may indicate the party ballot you returned but, if it does not, bipartisan judges will open the envelope to determine which ballot was returned. Who you voted for is not public information and will be kept confidential, however which party’s ballot you returned is public information.

Elections Policy Manual (PDF)


Q22. Do I have to vote every race on the ballot?

A22. No. This is called “voting down the ballot”. It is your choice what races you want to cast a vote in. You do not have to vote in every race unless you choose to do so. For example, some voters only cast a vote for U.S. Senate while others may vote for every race. Whatever races you do vote in will be counted.

Election day FAQs


Q23. A candidate withdrew, but they are still on the ballot, what happens if I vote for them?

A23. If a candidate properly withdraws, by filing the correct paperwork on time, the vote will not be counted.


Q24. What is the difference between someone withdrawing publicly vs withdrawing with the state?

A24. A candidate’s withdrawal is not official until they file a letter of withdrawal with the designated state election official. Depending on what office they are running for, this may either be the Secretary of State, county clerk, or the city or town clerk. There is a timeframe in which a candidate must do this; if the deadline is not met they may still appear on the ballot even if they have withdrawn.

Candidate FAQs


Q25. What’s a write-in candidate?

A25. A write-in candidate is someone whose name does not appear on the ballot but has filed the proper paperwork with the designated election official to run as a write-in candidate. Votes for that candidate that are written in can be counted. If a voter writes in a name for a candidate that has not filled out and turned in the proper paperwork, the vote will not be counted.