Voting in USA elections

Seventeen Democrats and seven Republicans are set to appear on Colorado's March 3 presidential primary ballot, including President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the state's senior senator.

White House hopefuls faced a Monday deadline to file a notarized form and a $500 check with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office to qualify for the election. Candidates also had the option of submitting 5,000 valid petition signatures, but state election officials say none did that.

Colorado's presidential primary falls on Super Tuesday, when 14 other states and territories cast ballots, including delegate-rich California and Texas.

It will be the first time in 20 years that Colorado voters get to help pick nominating delegates for both major parties in a primary instead of precinct caucuses, following the 2016 approval of Initiative 107.

Trump faces a handful of lesser-known challengers in addition to two prominent Republicans seeking to deny him a second term, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh.

Although the crowded Democratic primary field is expected to winnow ahead of the Colorado primary — Bennet has said he needs to "do well" in February's Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary in order to stay in the race — at this point, every major Democrat running has made the ballot, as well as a couple who haven't been making headlines.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the only candidate to file for the primary in person, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state told Colorado Politics. The billionaire, who entered the race last month, dropped off the paperwork last Thursday, when he was in the state for a town hall in Aurora.

Other prominent Democrats on the ballot include former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro; billionaire Tom Steyer; author and self-help guru Marianne Williamson; and businessman Andrew Yang.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California was the first Democrat to land a spot on Colorado's ballot, but she withdrew from the primary last week. A secretary of state spokeswoman said her filing fee won't be refunded.

Candidates have until Dec. 27 to remove their name from the ballot.

The state's unaffiliated voters, who make up 40% of Colorado's electorate, will be able to vote in the presidential primary for the first time, under Initiative 108, another ballot measure passed in 2016.

Voters will start getting their ballots in the mail on Feb. 11, the day of the New Hampshire primary.

Those registered as Republicans or Democrats will receive ballots for their party's primary, and unaffiliated voters who haven't expressed a preference will get ballots for both primaries but only be able to vote one of them.

So far, roughly twice as many unaffiliated voters have registered to receive the Democratic presidential primary ballot as the GOP one. Through Monday, 50,126 have said they want to help pick a Democratic nominee, while 25,814 say they want to vote in the Republican contest, according to figures compiled by the Secretary of State's Office. Unaffiliated voters have until Feb. 3 to declare a preference if they want just one party's ballot mailed to them.

In addition, the Legislature passed a law this year that will allow 17-year-old residents who will turn 18 by Election Day — and have pre-registered — to vote in the primary.

Colorado Democrats and Republicans will hold precinct caucuses on the Saturday after the primary — next year, it's March 7 — to conduct party business and begin the nominating process for other races, including next year's marquee Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Colorado's June 30 primary remains in place for all other state-level and federal races on the ballot next year, including county, legislative and congressional offices.

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