The Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has received several phone calls, emails and notes from voters asking why they were sent a Primary Election ballot with no choices on it. While there are five contested races within Jefferson County for the Primary Election, many of the county’s ballots have only one candidate from each major political party running for each office, leaving them uncontested in the Primary. Some voters have voiced their opinion that sending ballots with no contested races is a waste of taxpayer money.
“State statute requires the county to mail Primary Election ballots if any major party has even one contested race,” said Pam Anderson, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder. “I actually agree with these voters that there should be a more efficient and less costly way to certify uncontested candidates to the General Election without sending out ballots for uncontested races,” she added.
Specifically, Colorado Revised Statute 1-4-104.5(2) states: “If a major political party has more than one candidate nominated for any office on the primary election ballot, the primary election shall be conducted…”
Current election law does not allow the County Clerk to cancel part of a Primary Election for uncontested races and only distribute ballots that have more than one candidate from the same party running for the same office. Only if there are no contested races for any political party can the Primary election be canceled and the winners declared nominated to the General Election ballot. This is something Anderson is hopeful the Legislature will consider changing in the future.
“I will continue to advocate for a change in the statute to save taxpayer dollars,” said Anderson. “In our county alone, we’ve sent out more than 97,000 ballots with no choices for the voter. That’s more than $100,000 of taxpayer money that could be put to better use,” she said.