Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Election day warning: Quit looking in the mailbox -- because your ballot's not coming

Think this campaign season has been messy? The all-mail August primary created an unprecedented amount of confusion with voters who assumed a November 2 ballot would arrive in their mailbox. Get a clue: If a ballot hasn't been delivered, it's not coming. But you can still vote. And in this tight, tight election, every vote could really count.

Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Secretary of State, says an unusually high number of voters were confused by the August primary, which was an automatic mail-in vote in most Colorado counties. After that, Colorado returned to business as usual -- which means registered voters only get mail-in ballots if they request one for a specific election, or change their registration to indicate they always want mail-in ballots. To do that, or verify that you'd already done that, you can go to But either way, it's too late to vote by mail now (although if you did get one, you can still drop it off at your polling place in person).

And even if you actually requested a mail-in ballot that never arrived, you can vote in person tomorrow. At your polling place, you'll get a provisional ballot -- which will be counted after the county clerk determines that you haven't already voted by mail. If you never requested a mail-in ballot, there should be no problem: You'll automatically be on the poll book, and can just vote the old-fashioned way between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at your polling place. To find out where that is, go to your county clerk's web page.

Denver will have 151 polling places, each serving five precincts. (Fair warning: Your polling place may not be where it was two years ago). For the complete list, go to the Denver Elections Division site.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "John Hickenlooper won't go negative on Tom Tancredo -- but Tancredo does it himself."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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