Colorado voters will start receiving ballots in the mail this week ahead of the state's "Super Tuesday" presidential primary on March 3.
It will be Colorado's first presidential primary in 20 years, and it's the first time ever that the state's unaffiliated voters will be able to help choose the Democratic or Republican nominees without changing their registration.
It's also the first time 17-year-old Colorado residents will be able to vote in a presidential primary, if they will be 18 by the date of the General Election, Nov. 3.
“Super Tuesday will be here before we know it and this is a prime opportunity for Coloradans to raise our voices at the ballot box,” said Gov. Jared Polis in a statement.
“Colorado is known for our leadership on enhancing the rights of voters, for producing record voter turn-out and we hope all candidates recognize our state’s significance and make a real effort to inspire our voters directly.”
President Donald Trump is only facing token opposition in the Republican primary, but Colorado's vote could help sway the Democratic primary, which counts more than a dozen active candidates, including front-runners and urging candidates Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg.
Democrat Michael Bennet, Colorado's senior senator, is also on the ballot in his home state but has said he needs to finish near the top of the pack in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary to continue his campaign.
Other Democrats on the ballot include Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick and Tom Steyer, as well as a handful of candidate who haven't actively campaigned.
Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld is the only high-profile candidate on the Republican ballot challenging Trump.
Colorado is one of 14 states voting on March 3, when roughly 40% of the delegates needed for the nomination will be decided.
“Today kicks off Colorado’s first Presidential Primary in 20 years, and the state's first presidential primary ever in which unaffiliated voters can participate,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Monday in a statement. “As early as this week, Coloradans will begin to vote and make their voices heard in this historic election.”
County clerks began mailing ballots to Colorado's 3.4 million registered voters on Monday and have until Friday to get them to the post office. Registered voters who haven't received a ballot by Feb. 19 are encouraged to contact their county clerk for a replacement.
Republicans will get a Republican primary ballot in the mail, and Democrats will get a Democratic primary ballot. Most of the state's 1.4 million unaffiliated voters, however, will get both major parties’ primary ballots but can only return one of them, because if they return them both, their vote won't count.
Unaffiliated voters who registered a preference for one or the other party's ballot before the Feb. 3 deadline will just get one ballot.
The Democratic primary ballot includes the names of 17 White House hopefuls, though three of the candidates — Cory Booker, Marianne Williamson and John Delany — suspended their campaigns after the ballot was finalized.
Joe Walsh, one of the five candidates whose name appears alongside Trump's on the GOP ballot has also withdrawn.
Colorado voters can return their ballots in the mail or drop them off at numerous secure locations in their home counties. Starting Feb. 24, voters will also be able to cast ballots at in-person locations in each county. The deadline for voters to cast ballot or make sure their county clerks have received their ballots is 7 p.m. March 3.
Voters can check the status of their registration and find information about voting at www.GoVoteColorado.gov or at their county clerk's office.
The major parties' White House hopefuls will be the only candidates on the ballots voters will receive this month. Voters will be able to decide nominations for other candidates, including for the U.S. Senate and Congress, and state lawmakers and county officials, in the June 30 primary.
In 2016, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 107, which restored presidential primary elections in Colorado. The state was previously using the caucus system. That same year, voters approved Proposition 108, which allows unaffiliated voters to participate in the major parties' primaries.