In advance of the June 24 primary election, a number of Archuleta County’s registered voters have received a letter in the mail that has generated several questions.
The letter is an affiliation notice, and was only sent to voters not affiliated with a political party. This is the first year the notice was sent in the form of a letter rather than a voter information card.
The letter states: “As an unaffiliated elector, you may affiliate with a political party but you must do so in order to vote in the Primary Election on 06/24/2014. You may declare a party affiliation at any time, to and including Election Day. We will not send you a mail ballot unless you affiliate with a political party that is participating in the Primary Election.”
Since the letters were sent out, Archuleta County Clerk and Recorder June Madrid said the elections office has received several questions and comments concerning the letters.
The most common questions and concerns, as stated by Madrid, are included below and accompanied by information from the Archuleta County Elections Office.
• Why do I need to change my affiliation?
No voter is required to or needs to affiliate. However, Colorado’s primary elections only allow ballots for major political parties, in this case the Democratic, Republican and American Constitution parties.
The ballots are specific to those three parties and include only candidates for that party.
In a Colorado primary, only registered voters affiliated with one of those major political parties will receive a ballot.
The purpose of this ballot separation is so the parties can choose which of their candidates will be included on the general election ballot in November.
• What if I don’t want to change my affiliation?
Voters are not required to affiliate. Unaffiliated voters will receive the general election ballot in November.
Not voting in a primary election does not affect your voting status.
• You are taking away my ability to vote.
Any and all voters are allowed to participate in the primary election by affiliating with a political party, or voters may choose to remain unaffiliated and only vote in the general election in November.
• What is the deadline to affiliate?
There is no deadline to affiliate. As is always the case, voters can affiliate up to and including Election Day and be issued a ballot.
However, you cannot change parties after May 23 for the June 24 primary.
The voter cards/letters are sent out early in order to allow unaffiliated voters to affiliate in time to receive a ballot via mail.
How to register/affiliate
If you have a valid Colorado driver’s license or state identification card issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue, you can affiliate with a political party or update your voter registration information by visiting www.GoVoteColorado.com.
You can also complete a Change in Voter Registration Information form. That form was included on the back of the affiliation notice mailed to unaffiliated voters. Once completed, that form should be returned to the elections office via one of the following methods:
• Mail to P.O. Box 2589, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-2589;
• Fax to 264-8562; or
• Email the completed form as an attachment to email@example.com.
You can also visit the Voting Service and Polling Center (elections office), located on the basement level of the courthouse (accessible through the parking lot adjacent to Centennial Park).
If you are not registered to vote, you can do so up to and including the date of the election if you register in person at the elections office.
You can register to vote at the elections office or on www.GoVoteColorado.com using your Colorado driver’s license number.
Important primary dates
The last day to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you for the June 24 primary election is the Friday before the election — June 17.
Mail ballots for the primary election will be mailed the week of June 2.
Voted ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Postmarks do not count.
Early voting for the primary election begins Monday, June 16.
Anyone with further questions can call the elections office at 264-8331.
As the election nears, see The SUN for additional information.