For the first time, Vail Valley unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in party primaries |

For the first time, Vail Valley unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in party primaries

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is spending all kinds of time this spring explaining Colorado primary ballot system. Unafilliated voters can participate in party primaries, but only one. If they vote in more than one, their ballot will be tossed out.
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About the primaries

• What’s changing with the primaries? Unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in party primaries for the first time this year, thanks to a 2016 ballot initiative.

• What does this mean for unaffiliated voters? They can only vote in one party’s primary — if both ballots are turned in, neither will count. To pick a party’s ballot, go to

• When will ballots be sent out? Eagle County voters will start receiving their ballots in the mail in early June. Primary day is Tuesday, June 26.

• What does this mean for Eagle County? The primary determines who’s on the final ballot in November.

For more information about each of the parties, visit the Eagle County Republicans at and the Eagle County Democratic Party website at


U.S. Congress

• 2nd Congressional District — Democrats Mark Williams, Joe Neguse; Republican Peter Yu

• 3rd Congressional District — Republican Scott Tipton; Democrats Arn Menconi, Karl Hanlon, Diane Mitsch Bush.


• Democrats Mike Johnston, Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis, Donna Lynne

• Republicans Walker Stapleton, Greg Lopez, Doug Robinson, Victor Mitchell

State Treasurer

• Republicans Justin Everett, Polly Lawrence

• Democrats Bernard Douthit, Dave Young

Colorado State Senate, 5th District

• Democrat Kerry Donovan

• Republican Olen Lund

Colorado State House, District 26

• Democrat Dylan Roberts

• Republican To be announced

Eagle County Commissioner, District 3

• Republican Jacqueline Cartier

• Democrat Jeanne McQueeney

Eagle County Sheriff

• Republican James Van Beek

Eagle County Clerk

• Democrat Regina O’Brien

Eagle County Assessor

• Democrat Mark Chapin

Eagle County Treasurer

• Democrat Teak Simonton

Eagle County Coroner

• Democrat Kara Bettis

EAGLE — For the first time, Colorado voters do not have to affiliate with a party to cast a ballot in the June primary.

But you do have to choose only one party’s ballot, said Regina O’Brien, Eagle County Clerk and Recorder.

Since Colorado went to mail ballots a few years back, ballots have been mailed to all affiliated voters, O’Brien said.

“Now, they’ll also be mailed to the more than 13,000 unaffiliated voters in Eagle County,” O’Brien said.

How it works

If you’re affiliated with a political party, then you’ll be mailed the primary ballot for that party.

If you’re unaffiliated, then you can let the county clerk’s office know what party you want to vote for in the primary. They’ll mail you that party’s ballot.

If you don’t let them know, then they’ll mail you both major party ballots.

However, you can only vote in one party’s primary, O’Brien said.

If you vote in more than one party’s primary, then your ballots will be tossed out and your vote will not count, O’Brien said.

“My goal is enfranchisement. We want every vote to count,” O’Brien said.

You can make their lives a little easier by going to and telling them which party’s primary ballot you want.

How we’re here

Colorado voters approved the semi-closed primary during the 2016 election.

Proponents argued that opening primaries to independents could boost more moderate candidates and wrest some control from the hardcore partisans who tend to cast a majority of votes in primaries.

Unaffiliated voters are the largest and fastest-growing bloc in Colorado — 37 percent across the state.

In Eagle County, recent numbers put unaffiliated voters at 44.1 percent of the 29,302 total voters registered. In Summit County, around 9,000 of 19,000 total voters are unaffiliated.

Both Democrats and Republicans held their state assemblies Saturday, April 14.

The primary is Tuesday, June 26.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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