Deadline is Monday to switch affiliations
Monday is the deadline for Colorado voters to affiliate with a political party in time to participate in the March 4 caucuses.
Although voters can wait until Election Day to register in person to vote in elections, the caucus process is different. Voters must affiliate with a political party 60 days before a party caucus in order to participate. Those who want to participate in a caucus but have recently moved also must update their address by the end of the day Feb. 3 to participate in the 2014 caucus process.
Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner said she expects to receive questions about caucus procedure this year because of publicity last year for House Bill 1303, which made Colorado a “day-of” registration state for elections but not caucuses.
“Political parties have not updated their laws (to extend registration deadlines) and caucuses are really party functions,” Reiner said.
Unlike an election, where voters mail in a ballot or go to a polling site to cast a ballot, a political party caucus is a meeting. At the meeting, voters from a single precinct and the same political party gather to elect officers to organize political activities within the precinct, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. Caucus participants also elect delegates and alternates to represent the precinct at the political party’s county convention. County, district and state conventions or assemblies help winnow down the county, district and statewide candidates, respectively, for a party’s primary.
Mesa County will have caucuses March 4 for Republicans, Democrats and American Constitution parties. The American Constitution Party will meet in a single location while the other two parties will host meetings by precinct.
County assemblies have to take place by April 12, according to Reiner. Those events will help narrow down a list of candidates for county commissioner, sheriff, treasurer, clerk and recorder, assessor, surveyor, and coroner positions. District assemblies will take place for state legislative positions.
State assemblies will take place in April. Candidates to be discussed at those assemblies include those running for U.S. senator or representative, governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, and attorney general.
The primary election is June 24 and the general election is Nov. 4.
For information, see http://www.govotecolorado.com.