More than 16,000 ballots went out Monday to active voters in Montezuma County for Colorado’s first presidential primary in 20 years.
“We’re already getting some back,” said Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell.
The presidential contest will be the only race on the ballot. A separate primary for the federal state and local offices will be conducted June 30.
“We’re going to be busy this year,” Percell said. “We have the presidential primary, then the primary in June for the other offices and in between we have a municipal election. So we’ll have elections in March, April and June.”
The Cortez municipal election, in which 14 candidates are seeking five open City Council seats, will be April 7.
All elections in Colorado are now conducted with mail-in ballots.
Percell said this is the first time a separate primary has been held with only the presidential race on the ballot, and she’s unsure what that means for turnout.
“We’d like to have 100%,” she said with a laugh. “But turnout has been good since we went to mail-in ballots. It has helped. Families will get together and discuss the issues. They will have a dinner or a family event and discuss everything and fill out their ballots.”
Colorado will be one of 14 states holding primaries on March 3, dubbed Super Tuesday.
Democratic and Republican voters will receive ballots for their respective parties. Unaffiliated voters will receive both parties’ ballots. Unaffiliated voters are allowed to submit a ballot for only one party and discard the other; otherwise their vote is not counted.
In Montezuma County, Percell mailed 3,480 ballots to Democrats, 7,163 ballots to Republicans and 5,886 ballots to unaffiliated voters.
Voters should mail their ballots by Feb. 21 to ensure they have enough time in the mail to be received by the Clerk’s Office for the 7 p.m. March 3 deadline for the presidential primary election.
From Feb. 22 to March 3, ballots should be dropped off at one of four ballot boxes. Ballot boxes are located at:
Dolores Town Hall, 420 Central Ave.Mancos Town Hall, 117 N. Main St.Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, 140 W. Main St., Cortez.Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Headquarters, 124 Mike Wash Road, in Towaoc.If voters don’t receive a ballot in the next week, they should visit the Clerk’s Office for a replacement.
Percell said many people move and forget to update their address, and those ballots will be returned as undeliverable. They cannot be forwarded to a new address, she said.
Voters can also go to the Clerk’s Office for a new ballot if they ruin the one sent in the mail or if they change their mind about their vote.