Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Colorado primary: It's not too late to get in on the party

A third of Denver's 423,622 registered voters didn't get mail-in ballots for tomorrow's primary -- not because of any postal snafu, but because these voters are officially registered as unaffiliated, and ballots only went to voters registered with parties that have contested races. Very contested races, as Michael Bennet v. Andrew Romanoff, Ken Buck v. Jane Norton and Dan Maes v. Scott McInnis. But independent voters can still take part.

Up until 7 p.m. tomorrow, a registered, officially unaffiliated voter can go to one of Denver's thirteen voter centers (find them on the Elections Division website), officially affiliate with one of the parties, and then vote in that party's primary.

Just imagine how more than 100,000 previously unpolled voters could throw off the pundits and change the outcome of tomorrow's races! (And also completely screw up the vote-counting process, but that's another issue.)

And that's just the number of unaffiliated voters in Denver. Although the city is more heavily Democratic than the rest of Colorado (48.71 percent Democratic and 17 percent Republican, when state stats are closer to one-third Democratic, one-third Republican), the one-third unaffiliated percentage holds up across the state -- and any one of those unaffiliated voters can sign up with a party in order to vote in tomorrow's primary. (Check the Colorado Secretary of State's website for the procedure in a particular county.) The trickier part of this process: Deciding whether you'd want to weigh in on the Democratic or Republican races, since all of them have gotten increasingly nasty -- and tight.

And voting tomorrow won't stain your independence forever: You can unaffiliate the next day.

Should be quite a party.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun