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Making Democracy Work for All: Caucuses and Assemblies and Primaries, OH MY!

In Breaking News, Featured, Making Democracy Work For All

KGNU is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County on a monthly commentary series called Making Democracy Work for All! which focuses on educating listeners on the workings of state and local government and letting them know how they can get involved at different stages of the political process. This month Susan Saunders takes a look at the 2018 caucuses and primaries.

 

 

Ours is one of 11 states, which uses the caucus and assembly process to select candidates for the primary ballots.

Possibly you are thinking Coloradans threw out the caucus system in favor of primaries back in 2016, but not quite. The major change in 2016 was to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primaries.

So, if we have party caucuses and assemblies and primaries, you may be wondering what happens at each stage, and where you fit in. The grass roots approach to our voting system begins with voters in the precincts.

Caucuses involve the party-affiliated voters, at the precinct level, by pulling them together on a Tuesday night, in living rooms, churches, school cafeterias, etc., in order to conduct two important activities. 1st, on March 6, these voters will choose the precinct committee members who handle the local business of the party. 2nd, these voters will select amongst themselves, the delegates to the party’s County Assembly. This is where candidate selection begins.

Next in the progression, each party’s caucus is followed by its County Assembly and then its District Assembly. Then, both of these are followed by the party’s State Assembly. Sometimes the assemblies get referred to as conventions.

At county assemblies, all the delegates from the precinct caucuses select the county level candidates to be on the primary ballot. These delegates also select the delegates to the District and State assemblies. The county level candidates will be those running for County Commissioner for District 3, Assessor, Coroner, Clerk & Recorder, Surveyor and Treasurer.

At District Assemblies delegates select candidates to go on the primary ballot for US Congress, the State legislature, the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents, and the District Attorney.

At State Assemblies delegates select candidates for statewide offices to be on the primary ballot. These are the Governor, Lt Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, and the Regent-at-large position.

Finally, we come to the primaries in which all voters can select which candidates will appear on the ballot in November’s General Election. Primaries will occur on June 26, using mail ballots, which you will receive well before the 26th. Primaries are where unaffiliated voters begin to impact the final ballot. Unaffiliated voters will be sent ballots for all parties conducting a primary election unless they declared a ballot preference on their voter registration record. Unaffiliated voters can only vote and return one party’s ballot.

For a quick review if you are registered to vote and affiliated with a party which is holding a caucus:
1) Learn your precinct number from the Secretary of State’s website or call the County Clerk’s office.

2) Learn your precinct’s caucus location from the website of the party with which you have affiliated. Parties run caucuses, NOT the Clerk or SOS.

3) PRE-REGISTER for the caucus on the website for your party. Remember how terrible the crowds and lines were in 2016? Don’t get shut out, PREREGISTER!

Everyone needs to remember:

Primaries are June 26 and are run by the County Clerk.
Ballots will be mailed to you and must be back in the Clerk’s office by 7pm on June 26.

Use the Mail, Vote Early, Use a Drop box, or Walk in to a polling center, but get that ballot in before 7:00 PM on June 26.

The League urges you to please exercise your right to vote and participate in the caucus & assembly process, if you are qualified, and Vote like your life depends on it!