Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, the two Democrats who dropped out of the presidential primary in recent days, have filed paperwork to make official their withdrawals from Colorado's ballot, a spokesman for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office said, ensuring that any votes they receive won't be counted.
Both former candidates endorsed Joe Biden after ending their campaigns in the wake of the former vice president's commanding win Saturday in the South Carolina primary.
But until they formally notified state election officials that they were no longer in the running, Klobuchar and Buttigieg were on track to accumulate votes and potentially win delegates in Colorado's Super Tuesday primary.
Their exits leave just five major Democratic candidates in contention in Colorado's primary: Biden, U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
The move is at least partly strategic. Because of the procedures Democrats use to allocate delegates based on the primary vote, fewer candidates dividing up the total vote in individual congressional districts means it's more likely any remaining candidates will cross the 15% threshold that triggers eligibility for delegates to the national convention.
Two other Democrats who suspended their campaigns since ballots were printed — Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney — have also officially withdrawn from Colorado's primary, but another five former White House hopefuls haven't, so their votes will be counted and reported after polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
In addition to the active candidates, Colorado's ballots list U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, author and spiritual guide Marianne Williamson, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and investor Tom Steyer, as well as three candidates who paid a fee to be included on the ballot but haven't done much campaigning.
In Colorado, more than 520,000 Democratic ballots had been received by county clerks before Buttigieg announced his decision late Sunday, and another 100,000 had been submitted by the time Klobuchar said she was out mid-day Monday.
Voters who cast ballots for either won't get mulligans, election officials said, but those who have filled out their ballots but haven't yet submitted them can either cross out their original selection and fill in the oval next to their new choice or visit a voter service center and request a new ballot.
In the state's Republican primary, President Donald Trump is facing five challengers, including one who suspended his campaign but hasn't officially withdrawn: former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois. Unless he notifies the Secretary of States's Office before ballots are tabulated, Walsh's votes will be reported along with those received by the other GOP candidates.
Voters can find the locations of their county's secure drop boxes and voter service centers, as well as an abundance of voter registration and election information, at GoVoteColorado.gov.