The 2021 Coordinated Elections is on Nov. 2, with municipal races, school board races and local initiatives all across Colorado.
This voter guide will help you through the process. Here's what to know about:
- How to register to vote
- Getting a ballot
- Learning about candidates and issues
- Turning in your ballot
- Making sure your vote is counted
- Tracking election results
Chapter 1: Register to vote
First off, you can check if you're already registered to vote in Colorado at the Secretary of State's website.
If you have applied for or renewed a driver's license since May 2020, you were likely automatically registered to vote, under the state's Automatic Voter Registration system. For this system to kick in, eligible voters only need to provide identification that shows citizenship.
As of June 29, more than 250,000 Coloradans were registered to vote through this system, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
If you registered to vote in the last election but you didn't cast a ballot, you are still registered and eligible to vote.
You can register at www.GoVoteColorado.gov if you have a valid Colorado driver's license or state issued ID card from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Or register at a state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office when you apply for a driver's license or when updating driver's license information.
Other places to register are:
- Offices that provide public assistance including state funded programs that provide services to persons with disabilities.
- U.S. Armed Forces recruitment offices.
- Any federal, state or local office or nongovernmental office that chooses to provide voter registration services
- A voter service and poling center.
Voters in Colorado can register through Election Day. To get a mail ballot, there are some deadlines to be aware of:
- You can register to vote or update your voter registration at www.GoVoteColorado.gov through the eighth day before Election Day, which this year is Oct. 25.
- Submit an application through the mail, at a voter registration site, or a DMV office through the eighth day before Election Day.
- Submit an application through a voter registration drive no later than 22 days before Election Day. This deadline has already passed, if you want to vote in this year's election.
- If you miss these deadlines, can can register in-person at a voter service and polling center in your county through Election Day.
Chapter 2: Getting a ballot
Colorado voters will receive mail-in ballots at the addresses listed on their voter registration, which is why it's important to check if your information is up to date.
They will also receive the 2021 Blue Book. The ballot information booklet provides voters with the text, title and a fair and impartial analysis of each initiated or referred constitutional amendment, law, or question on the ballot.
It's likely that if you're registered to vote in Colorado, you've already received both your ballot and the Blue Book in the mail. Mail ballots started being sent to voters on Oct. 8.
If you haven't received your ballot yet, you can check its status here.
If you lost your mail ballot, you can ask for a replacement from your county clerk or vote in-person at a polling site.
Chapter 3: Filling out a ballot
There are no national races or statewide candidate races in the 2021 election, but that doesn't mean the election doesn't matter.
Every voter in Colorado will see three statewide ballot measures on their ballot. And 88 towns and cities in Colorado will hold votes on municipal races, school board races and ballot questions.
More than 125 municipal ballot questions are being considered across the state on issues such as housing, taxes and bonds, marijuana, governance, election changes and charter amendments -- just to name a few.
Here are links for information on elections and voting in counties in the Denver metro and surrounding areas and on what's on those counties' ballots:
You might notice while filling out our ballot that political affiliations aren't on the ballot for candidates in school board and city council races. That's because these races are non-partisan in Colorado.
If you choose to leave some questions blank on your ballot, your other votes will still be counted.
Chapter 4: Turning in your ballot
After you've filled out your ballot, you need to either mail it back using the envelope included with your ballot or drop it off at a designated drop-off location or drop box.
Ballots must be received by your county clerk by no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Every valid mail ballot is counted. Don't forget to sign the envelope before you either mail the ballot or drop it off.
The last day to return your ballot by mail is Oct. 25. After that date, you should use a drop box or other designated drop-off location.
You can also vote in-person at designated polling sites.
If you choose to vote in-person, you can return your mail ballot at a voter service and polling center. Even if you don't return your mail ballot, you can still vote in person. Once you've voted in-person, the county clerk won't accept the ballot that was mailed to you.
When voting in-person, you must provide identification such as a Colorado driver's license or state ID.
All voters who are in line at their polling station by 7 p.m. on Election Day are allowed to vote no matter how long it takes for each person to cast their ballot.
Here's an interactive map of where you can vote in-person or drop off your ballot a drop box or designated drop-off location.
To check the status of your ballot, visit www.GoVoteColorado.gov. This will show whether your ballot has been received and counted.
If you mailed in your ballot and see it hasn't been processed and choose to vote in person, the Colorado Secretary of State's Office said the ballot that is received and processed first will be counted, and the other will be voided.
This doesn't mean you can vote twice. If someone submits a ballot but decides to change their vote, that ballot will be rejected and the district attorney for that county will be alerted, the Colorado Secretary of State's Office said.
Chapter 5: Tracking election results
The state and counties will start announcing election results after polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Results will be available at the Colorado Secretary of State's Office website and each county's election website.
The results of many ballot questions will be decided on Election Night, but it could take several days to get the results of closely contested questions.
Nov. 10 is the last day for ballot cast by military and overseas voters to be received by county clerks, and Nov. 12 is the last day for verification and county of provisional ballots.
After elections, the state is required to conduct what's known as a "risk-limiting audit." These ensure that vote tabulation systems are accurate. The results are available publicly online.
After the election, anyone can request a recount at their own expense. Those must be requested by Nov. 30 and completed by Dec. 9.
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