Unaffiliated voters get some say in Colorado governor’s race

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Posted 6/11/18

Attention all unaffiliated registered voters: Get your ink pen ready to mark your primary election ballot. Those of us who are registered unaffiliated will have received two ballots in the mail by …

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Unaffiliated voters get some say in Colorado governor’s race


Attention all unaffiliated registered voters: Get your ink pen ready to mark your primary election ballot.

Those of us who are registered unaffiliated will have received two ballots in the mail by the time you read this column. According to Adams County Clerk Stan Martin, the ballots were mailed out between June 4 and 8.

Ballot drop boxes are available such as Westminster City Hall on a 24-7 basis as long as all ballots are collected by 7 p.m. on Election Day, June 26. Of course, you can mail your ballot in as well, but do so several days prior to the election.

Here is where it gets tricky: You have to decide which major political party you wish to vote, Democrat or Republican. You can’t have it both ways and vote in both parties’ primary election.

Unaffiliated voters get equal status

As most unaffiliated voters know, we are franchised for the first time in Colorado to participate in a partisan primary election. Hooray!

Yes, in the past you could change your registration from unaffiliated to one of the parties in order to vote in that particular party’s primary. Then you would have to change your registration back to unaffiliated. So, the new process is more efficient, easier and we are treated as an “equal” for that moment in time with all the other brothers and sisters of that party.

Actually, this mid-term election doesn’t have a lot of hotly contested races within either party - except for governor.

Even in the case of the Republican governor’s race, it would seem predictable that Walker Stapleton will grab the approval of his party.

However, the gubernatorial race within the Democratic Party is a whole different ball game. Their race splits Democrats between Michael Johnston, Cary Kennedy, Donna Lynne and Jared Polis.

This race is the whole reason I am using my Democratic Party ballot to help decide this race.

Unaffiliated voters could tip the scales

Unaffiliated voters could well make the difference in both the Democratic primary as well as the general election in November on deciding who will be the next governor of Colorado.

Similarly, unaffiliated voters could be the deciding factor in state legislative races and county office races. As you probably know, there are more registered unaffiliated voters - 1,163,751 at last count - than either the registered 1,003,424 Democrats or the 995,090 Republicans in Colorado.

So, a candidate could win the hearts and minds of his/her own party and still lose to the opponent based on how the unaffiliated folks voted. If I was running for office — even the non-partisan races like the RTD Board (which really are partisan in practicality) — I would spend more of my campaign money on the unaffiliated voters than my own party.

Anyway, it is great to be treated as equals when we unaffiliated voters cast our primary election ballot! Every vote counts.

Denver to host 2030 Olympics?

The Denver Olympics exploratory committee recently completed its work on the feasibility of Denver hosting the 2030 winter Olympics. Guess what the handpicked committee concluded?

No surprise, the group unanimously voted to pursue a bid for the Olympics, but they predicated their recommendation on two key conditions: First, the necessary funds for major improvements or modifications would come from private money using as many existing facilities as possible. A current cost estimate of $1.8-$2.1 billion is being quoted by the committee to provide the needed venues.

The second key condition is that Colorado voters would have to approve submitting a proposal in order to move forward. These two conditions are huge and are very politically astute. I would submit that if the committee had recommended taxpayer funding and without a statewide vote, the 2030 bid would be DOA!

Key factors to ponder if Denver garners the Olympics

It’s too early to get fired up one way or the other on this possibility but be aware that the committee is on record to pursue the bid. Regarding the cost of needed capital improvements to provide the venues for the games, the devil is in the details.

Too many times, cost estimates for providing Olympic venues for the winter or summer games have gone over budget by quite a hefty sum. So, a detailed cost estimate with detailed assumptions would be needed upfront for private sector sponsors to commit to doing and for the public to analyze prior to any vote.

But, the final factor at play would be the attitude of Coloradoans toward encouraging more people to come to Colorado via the Olympics. That factor was certainly at play when Colorado voters rejected hosting the 1976 winter Olympics after the games had already been awarded to Colorado. With the pace and magnitude of growth which Colorado is experiencing along with voters’ attitude toward growth, it has to be a valid factor to weigh.

Stay tuned as this possibility plays out.

Smooth sailing on 104th Avenue

It’s been a sometimes frustrating and bumpy experience over more months than many of us wish to recall. The major waterline replacement in 104th Avenue between Sheridan and Federal Boulevards turned out to be more difficult than had been anticipated.

A leak in the newly installed water pipe caused a delay while the road surface got rougher. The good news is that affected water users have a dependable water supply for many years to come and motorists are enjoying a very smooth ride.


Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.


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