Routt County unaffiliated voters have right to cast ballots in 2018 party primaries | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County unaffiliated voters have right to cast ballots in 2018 party primaries

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Unaffiliated voters in Routt County, all 6,668 of them, will for the first time have the opportunity to automatically vote in a primary election June 26.

Before the passage of the statewide Proposition 108 in November 2016, unaffiliated voters would have had to affiliate with one of the major parties to vote a primary ballot, then re-register as an unaffiliated voter for the general election in the fall.

Lynn Bartels, communication director for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, confirmed this week that unaffiliated voters represent the "largest voting block in Routt County."

As of July 2017, there were 5,171 registered Democrats in Routt County and 4,743 Republicans.

Now, Routt County's unaffiliated voters can join in the primary election by going online to indicate their party primary of preference for the June primary. They will have the ability to choose the other party in succeeding years if they so choose to, Bartels said.

She said that as of Tuesday, 29,484 of Colorado’s 1.4 million unaffiliated voters have indicated a preference. Of that number, 54 percent asked for a Democratic ballot and 40 percent a Republican ballot.

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It's important they only fill out one of the ballots, she said. If voters fill out two ballots, neither will be counted.

Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner said candidates whose names will appear on the primary ballot won't be firmed up until after the major party state assemblies April 13 and 14.

Voters who don't wish to go online to indicate their ballot preference can wait for both ballots to be automatically mailed to them by Bonner's office. But Bartels added that by going online, voters can speed up the ballot counting on election night and save their county 38 cents per ballot.

Status of primary races

The gubernatorial primaries in which Republicans and Democrats will choose candidates for governor may have the greatest potential for hotly contested primary races. Multiple political veterans are lining up in both parties to replace Gov. John Hickenlooper.

There are also four Democratic candidates competing for the right to challenge incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Tipton in House District 3 comprising Colorado's Western Slope and the city of Pueblo on the Front Range.

The candidates include former State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, of Steamboat Springs, and fellow Democrats Karl Hanlon, of Carbondale, former Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi and Root Routledge, of Durango.

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

How they voted

Routt County voters approved Prop 108 by a margin of 7,625 to 5,093. Neighboring Moffat County voted against the measure, 3,287 to 2,847.