Voting in the presidential primary: What you should know

Serena Bettis

Holding its first presidential primary since 2000, Colorado is among 11 states to make the switch back from the caucus system. 

Colorado’s presidential primary is March 3, and the Durrell Center at Colorado State University will have a polling center open Feb. 24-28 and March 2 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Feb. 29 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and on election day from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. 

Ad

Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers said all ballots must be by 7 p.m. on election night or they will not be counted. If voting in person, votes will count as long as someone is in line at 7 p.m. 

At the polling center, Myers said election judges operate in bipartisan teams to ensure the integrity of the election. 

“We do everything everything in Larimer County in our election process in bipartisan teams,” Myers said. “No single party ever works alone. The folks are teamed up in such a way that they are on different parties, and their lanyards clearly show that so anyone who’s around them can say, ‘Wait a minute, you guys are not in a bipartisan team.’”

In Colorado, which is an open primary state, this includes Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. 

Gary Schwartz, an election judge supervisor at the Durrell polling center, said the center has the ability to register new voters, update voter registration information and provide voters with paper or electronic ballots.

Schwartz said that when students come in to vote, they typically need to update their address first because that often gets overlooked when living in a different residence hall or apartment each year. 

Unaffiliated or new voters simply need to tell an election judge which party ballot they would like to complete, and the judge will print the paper ballot or help them access the electronic ballot on specific machines in the polling center, Schwartz said. 

In Loveland in this last November election, we had a race decided by three votes. So, that should put everyone in Larimer County on notice that every single vote matters.” -Angela Myers, Larimer County clerk, recorder

Any United States citizen can apply to be an election judge, although Myers said those wishing to do so should ensure they can fully commit. 

“I wanted to do some volunteer work, and I wanted to be involved in something that was interesting and educates me,” Connee McAllister, an election judge, said.

Many retired community members, like McAllister, become an election judge to learn more about the process, engage with new people or express their passion for the election system. 

Ad

“I’m really glad I did (it) for various reasons because I was always the one dropping (the ballot) off at the grocery store, and I had no idea it was so involved, and I had certainly no idea of the whole integrity of the process,” said election judge Jill Hynes. “When you work here, you get a good feel for all the effort that goes in just to ensure the integrity of the election, plus you get to meet some really interesting people that have the same interests of doing civic duty.”

Kevin Pickett, another election judge, said his interest in elections started when he saw people in Iraq first vote in 2005. Pickett said he has lived in many states across the U.S., and he believes Colorado is the “cream of the crop” when it comes to providing residents with different opportunities to vote. 

Myers said that unaffiliated voters must only fill out one primary ballot. Otherwise, their vote will not be counted. 

“In Loveland in this last November election, we had a race decided by three votes,” Myers said. “So, that should put everyone in Larimer County on notice that every single vote matters.”

Ballot drop-off locations and other polling centers in the county can be found through the Larimer County website

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect more accurate information about ballot drop-off in Larimer County. A previous version incorrectly stated that ballots must be dropped off or mailed in by 7 p.m. on election night. Ballots must be dropped off or received by 7 p.m. on election night. 

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.