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Colorado: Caucuses and Primaries

In Colorado, political parties use both caucuses and primaries to determine who will be on the ballot in the coordinated election in the fall. The purpose of caucuses is to determine who will be on the primary ballot in June.

20100317_011004_cd17caucusThe party caucus meetings took place earlier this month, on March 4. In these caucus precinct meetings, party members joined together to discuss nominees for party primary elections and delegates for county, state, and national assemblies (as applicable). Any party member who resided in the precinct for 30 days, registered to vote at least 29 days before the caucus and had been affiliated with the respective party for two months was eligible to attend their precinct caucus to vote on delegates. Whether they were technically eligible to vote or not, all caucus attendees are able to discuss who they prefer to be the party nominee for the general election.

Still to come, however, are the county assemblies. The Democratic county assembly will be held on March 22nd at UCCS (more information available at peakdems.org). The Republican county assembly will take place March 29th at UCCS (you can visit elpaso.coloradogop.us for more information). Delegates at the county assembly will take a formal vote on candidates, as well as delegates for the congressional district assembly and state assembly. The dates of these district assemblies are still to be determined.

As already noted, county assemblies and “higher assemblies” are crucial in determining who will be on primary ballots. Candidates with 30% of the vote automatically qualify for inclusion on the ballot, and candidates with 10-29% of the vote may petition on to the ballot. Candidates may also forgo the caucus process altogether and petition onto the primary ballot, but early deadlines for signature collection prevent most candidates from getting on the ballot in this way.

This year, primary elections will be held on June 24th. If you’re interested in voting in a primary, please visit the secretary of state website.


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