Check out our three reasons why you should vote in the Colorado Primary election – and how to do it!
Why Are We Talking About This?
Why is a sustainability-focused non-profit writing about and working on civic engagement? Because a strong democracy is a core piece of our sustainable future.
There are three tiers of holistic sustainability – our environment, our economy, and our communities. The health and diversity of our communities are often over-looked and under-appreciated pieces of the sustainability movement. Without strong and informed civic engagement, our democracy falters and our voices are lost amid the chaos of the 24-hour news cycle, political propaganda, and the grind of our everyday lives.
While the 2008 presidential elections boasted the highest U.S. turnout since the 1968 elections, more than 4 in 10 Americans aged 18 or older still stayed home. The latest presidential election had a similar overall turnout, but the number of voters between the ages of 18-29 dropped from over 50% in 2008 to just over 46% in 2016. Why does this matter? Because younger generations are silencing their voices by not turning out to the polls.
Most people know that they should vote in the presidential elections – but what about elections in the years when we are not choosing our commander-in-chief? In 2018 we have the potential to dramatically change the political make-up of Colorado. A major piece of that puzzle is voting in the primary elections. Primary elections (or “the primaries”) are elections that determine who is on the ballot for our votes in November.
Why You Should Vote
Here are three reasons why you should vote in the primaries in CO this Spring:
1.Voting in the primaries makes our democracy more representative.
This is the first (ever) primary election where unaffiliated voters can participate in Colorado. There are more unaffiliated voters in CO than democrats or republicans. If unaffiliated voters make their voice heard this year they actually have more sway than either of the entrenched political parties. Even though Colorado is a ‘blue state’ in many of our political leanings (ahem legalized marijuana) overall the state is solidly purple. The voting power of unaffiliated voters in Colorado significantly determines how the state leans. In other words we are approximately 1/3 republicans, 1/3 democrats and 1/3 unaffiliated voters in Colorado. The candidates that win elected office in Colorado are the ones that can win-over the unaffiliated voters and this is the first time they can vote to determine who makes the final ballot in November, 2018.
The primaries are your REAL chance to put your vote toward the candidate that shares your values, and prioritizes your issues. If you don’t participate in the primaries you don’t have a say in who makes the final ballot and ultimately is elected to office.
2. Generations of Americans struggled to win the right to vote.
Today, many people may take their right to vote for granted, but it wasn’t truly that long ago when entire swaths of the population ― like women ― were denied that right. Native Americans, African Americans, Asians and Latinos still face discrimination today (cite).
3. Voting Gives You a Voice
Voting is an important, meaningful way to give a voice to the issues you care about ― and the representatives you vote into office can create the changes you want to see. In the 2018 elections we have the following offices up for election at the state level: Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, US House/Senate and State House/Senate. Your vote is a license to justifiably complain about your elected officials. Your grievances will carry more weight if you speak out as a voter trying to hold your candidates accountable for promises they made.
When You Can Vote + How
We know that voting and civic engagement in general can be overwhelming, which is why we want to share the best tools for making your voice heard. Below you can find a timeline of steps for voting in the 2018 primary elections in CO – big thanks to our friends at Just Vote Colorado* for this information. If you want to find out more about the voting process or if you have other questions, please visit their website.
If you are new to the state or have not voted before, you can register to vote by following this link.
June 4th – Ballots are sent out via mail.
**If you are unaffiliated you will receive a republican and a democratic ballot and you will have to choose which party to affiliate with. Unaffiliated voters may only vote and return ONE BALLOT! If you vote any or all races on more than one ballot, none of your votes will be counted. To find your nearest dropbox where you can return your ballot, visit www.justvotecolorado.org or return your ballot by mail.
June 19th – Voter Services and Polling Centers open their doors, this is also the LAST DAY to return your ballot by mail.
June 26th – The polling period for the primary elections closes.
What Else You Can Do
- Follow Your Representatives’ Social Media, Newsletters and Websites
- Hear straight from the Horses’ Mouths on CSPAN https://www.c-span.org/
- Find Updates on Specific Legislation at: https://www.congress.gov/
- Get Detailed Bill Information, the Congressional Record, Committee Reports, and Information on Votes: http://lis.gov/
- Search Voting Records at: http://extranet.clerk.house.gov/votes/votes.asp
- Understand Your Voting Resources and Rights at: http://www.justvotecolorado.org
- Meet the 2018 Candidates at: https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_elections,_2018
- Check out https://leg.colorado.gov/ for local state information
- Get information from Colorado Independent on important issues http://www.coloradoindependent.com/
- Check out https://coloradopolitics.com/ again for state issues
*Just Vote! Colorado Election Protection is a non-partisan voter assistance program and is not affiliated with or promoting any party, candidate or ballot issue. Just Vote is not affiliated with or responsible for the content of this piece.