Make sure your primary vote matters

In 2016, Colorado voters approved Proposition 108 allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in Colorado primary elections without registering with a particular party. Unaffiliated voters receive two ballots in the primary and choose which primary in which they will participate. Only one ballot can be submitted. If both ballots are returned, they will be rejected and no votes will be recorded. In Montezuma County, there are 7544 registered Republicans, 3283 registered Democrats, and 7841 Unaffiliated voters; third parties equal 318.

Proposition 108 had bipartisan support, passing with almost 53% voter approval. There were several arguments in favor: 1) Only about 5 percent of voters participated in party caucuses prior to the passage of Prop 108 — not a sign of a healthy democracy; 2) Opening primaries to unaffiliated voters increases participation in a process that is fundamental to a democracy — voting; 3) Elections are publicly financed, and unaffiliated voters who comprise over 1/3 of registered Colorado voters should have a role in selecting the candidates who will be on the ballot in the general election; and 4) It has been argued that allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary may result in candidates being selected who better represent all Coloradans — not just those adhering to a particular party platform.

In Montezuma County, your voter registration will determine whether you will have a say in who will most likely become our next county commissioner. No Democrats are running for any county offices, and the chance that an independent or write-in candidate will petition on to the fall ballot is slim and none, so . . . if you are not registered as a Republican or Unaffiliated, you will have no say in determining who will play a major role in our county government over the next four years.

If you are a registered voter or will be registering to vote in Montezuma County for the first time and want to at least think about what option you would like to take in this year’s primary, consider changing your registration to or registering as an “Unaffiliated” voter. It doesn’t mean you’re changing parties, nor will it dictate how you will have to vote in the general election.

Colorado’s elections are all-mail ballots, and ballots for the June 28 primary will be mailed June 6-10. The deadline for changing your registration is June 6. You can do this by going online at or stopping at the county clerk’s office, 140 West Main Street, and filling out the necessary form. It’s quick, easy, and free!  If you need help registering or have election questions, the county clerk’s staff is knowledgeable and very customer friendly so don’t hesitate to call the office,  970-565-3728.

The League of Women Voters was founded February 14, 1920, just months before the 19th amendment was ratified and women won the right to vote. Its mission is “Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy,” and it was founded in the belief that it wasn’t enough to have the right to vote; women needed information to enable them to make “an informed vote.” League is a nonpartisan organization — we do not support nor campaign against any candidate — however, the League does take positions on issues of importance to our democracy. As part of the mission to “empower voters.” the League sponsors candidate forums.

The Montezuma County League will sponsor a Meet the County Commissioners Forum, June 9th, 6:30-8:00 at Empire Electric’s Calvin Denton Room.

June 8, LWV Montezuma County will join with Gunnison, La Plata, Mesa, Pueblo, and Uncompahgre Local Leagues to host a candidate forum for the six Congressional District 3 candidates: Lauren Boebert (R), Don Coram (R), Adam Frisch (D), Sol Sandoval (D), and Alex Walker (D). This will be a virtual zoom webinar and will be live-streamed on Facebook 6:00-7:30. Please plan to attend both events.

Karen Sheek

President. League of Women Voters Colorado

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