Routt County voters have until Friday to switch affiliation and get in on the action

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Registering to vote

Four things to know about registering to vote in Colorado from Secretary of State Scott Gessler:

• You may submit an application through the mail, a voter registration agency, a local driver’s license examination facility, or a voter registration drive no later than 22 days before an election.

• You may register through www.govotecolorado.com through the eighth day before the election.

• You may register to vote by appearing in-person at a voter service and polling center through Election Day.

• You may change or withdraw your party affiliation no later than 29 days before the election. That deadline for the June 24 primary election is Friday.

— Registered Democratic and American Constitution Party voters have until Friday, May 23, to change their affiliation in order to vote in the June 24 Republican primary, where most of the action is this spring.

Here in Routt County, registered Republicans will be asked to choose between two former party chairmen and Steamboat residents, Dave Moloney and Chuck McConnell, in the race to see who will oppose state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, for the House District 26 seat.

“The Democrats don’t have any races, so if you really wanted to have a say in the primary, you could switch affiliation,” County Clerk Kay Weinland said Tuesday. “Unaffiliated voters can declare an affiliation through Election Day and people can register to vote on Election Day, too. We’ve sent 6,000 letters to unaffiliated voters.”

Ballots for the primary election will be mailed out to all eligible voters in Routt County on June 2.

The district comprises Routt and Eagle counties. Mitsch Bush defeated McConnell by about 2,700 votes to win her first term in the Legislature in 2012.

Moloney — who won the top line on the ballot at the district assembly in Denver in April with 29 delegates to McConnell’s 23 — said Tuesday that he thinks the 6,000 unaffiliated voters in Routt County should reconsider.

“I think that people who are unaffiliated are actually giving up some choice by not affiliating with the party they think is closest to matching their point of view,” he said. “I’ve been out in the district with my message that we can do better than we have over the last two years.”

Moloney currently is promoting his campaign at a Facebook page.

McConnell said he only took a couple of months off from the campaign trail after his 2012 defeat against Mitsch Bush, and then resumed strengthening his connections in Routt and Eagle counties.

“I’m going to every organization I can go to that has a meeting where a candidate is welcome — both in Routt and Eagle counties,” McConnell said. “I put 8,000 miles on my vehicle in the last election and I was able to make a lot of friends in Eagle County and in Routt County.”

McConnell’s contact information is at the top of his Web page and he welcomes phone calls or emails.

It’s possible to accomplish voter registration and a change of affiliation online at www.govotecolorado.com, or by visiting the clerk’s office in the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave.

Voters who change affiliation just for the primary may change it back before the general election in November, Weinland said, but are cautioned against assuming that will take place automatically, because it will not.

Republicans also may cast a ballot in the four-way primary race to determine the Republican candidate for governor who will oppose Gov. John Hickenlooper in the November election. Former state Sen. Mike Kopp, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, former congressman Tom Tancredo and former congressman Bob Beauprez are all on the ballot that Routt County voters will fill out.

Of course, technically, Republicans could decide to change affiliation to vote in either the Democratic or American Constitution ballots, but there are no contested races in either one. The only candidate on the American Constitution ballot is Amanda Campbell who is running for secretary of state.

On both the Democratic and Republican ballots, there are a number of candidates locally who are unopposed within their own party, who are seeking office for the first time or seeking to be returned to office as county commissioner, treasurer, coroner, county clerk and sheriff.

You can find the ballots right now at the county clerk’s election page.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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