Picture of the Colorado State Seal

Colorado
Secretary of State
Wayne W. Williams

Picture of Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams

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Picture of the Colorado State Seal.

Colorado
Secretary of State
Wayne W. Williams

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Primary Elections FAQs

Q1. What is the difference between a primary and a general election?

A1. The State of Colorado holds regularly scheduled state elections every two years; a state Primary Election in June and a General election in November.

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.

Q2. Who can vote in a Primary Election?

A2. On the Presidential or June Primary Election Day:

  • 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 for any one political party. If an unaffiliated voter returns a ballot with more than one major political party, the ballot will be rejected and none of the votes will be counted.

Q3. Does Colorado hold a presidential Primary Election?

A3. Yes. Beginning in March 2020 Colorado will hold a presidential primary election. Like other primary elections, affiliated voters will be eligible to vote for candidates in their party while unaffiliated voters will be eligible to vote for a candidate in any one party's election.

Q4. I am an unaffiliated voter. Do I have to choose in advance which party’s primary ballot to vote?

A4. No, but you can if you want to. You have several options:

  1. You may choose which party’s ballot you want to get in the mail for the next primary election by selecting a party preference at govotecolorado.com or on any paper voter registration form.
  2. If you would rather receive a packet containing the ballots of all participating major parties, you can take no action or select this option when first registering to vote.
  3. You can also appear in person at any Voter Service and Polling Center in your county and choose the party’s ballot you want to vote.

Q5. Does selecting a ballot preference as an unaffiliated voter mean that I am joining that party?

A5. No. An unaffiliated voter who selects a ballot preference in advance of a primary election will remain unaffiliated.

Q6. Does voting in a party’s primary as an unaffiliated voter mean that I am joining that party?

A6. 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).

Q7. I am an unaffiliated voter. Why did I get two ballots sent to me during a primary?

A7. Most unaffiliated voters will receive the ballots of both major political parties during a primary election. This allows an unaffiliated voter to choose which party’s primary they will vote in. Unaffiliated voters may only return one party’s ballot. Returning two voted ballots will result in neither ballot counting.

Q8. Where can I find information about caucus?

A8. Caucuses are held on the first Tuesday in March. In a presidential election year, a political party has the option to hold its precinct caucuses on the first Saturday following the presidential primary election. The persons receiving the highest number of votes at the precinct caucus are the delegates to the county assembly from the precinct. Contact your political party for additional information relating to caucus and party rules.

For more questions about caucuses, see our caucus FAQs.

Q9. Can I participate in a party’s caucus meeting if I am unaffiliated?

A9. No. To participate in a party caucus meeting you must join that party before the party’s caucus. However, you are still eligible to vote in any participating party’s primary election.

Q10. What political parties are recognized in Colorado?

A10. A list of the current Colorado political parties is available online.