How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts in Denver This November

What you need to know, including critical deadlines, registration details, and how to vote by mail.

Every year seems like it’s more important to vote than ever—and it’s true for 2022, too. After a voter registration surge like no other in the past few years and even more recently among women voters, in particular, Americans are flocking to the polls (or post offices) to cast their votes and elicit change. Voting in Colorado is pretty easy in comparison to other states, given that it offers same-day registration, early voting, and voting by mail. But if you’ve never voted before or just need a refresher of all the important info—including what’s on the ballot this year—this comprehensive guide is just for you.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections

How to register to vote

Colorado’s a fan of technology, it’s true. Many services that are usually (painfully) in person are available online, including how to register to vote. If this is your first time voting, you can register here. However, if you like doing things the old-fashioned way, you can fill out this form and mail, deliver, or scan and email it to the address listed.

Colorado also offers in-person registration on Election Day, something only about half of all states do. But if you’re planning on same-day registration, make sure you bring all the necessary materials and meet all the following criteria: Be a US citizen; be a resident of Colorado for at least 22 days immediately before the election in which you intend to vote; be at least 16 years old but at least eighteen on or before election day; and not be serving a sentence of detention or confinement for a felony conviction.

How can I see or change my voter status?

In addition to housing the resources necessary to register to vote, you can also use the Colorado Secretary of State website to check your voter status, change your name and/or party affiliation, and more. Be sure to check what voting limitations may apply given your party affiliation and depending on the type of election you’re voting in.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections

How to vote

If your address is current on your voter registration (or you’ve updated mail forwarding via a service like USPS) and you register to vote at least eight days before Election Day, you’ll receive an official Colorado ballot in the mail by October 31. Once you receive your ballot, you have a limited window to fill it out and either mail it back or drop it in a ballot box before the Election. Additionally, if this is your first time voting by mail, you may also need to provide a copy of your ID with your returned ballot. If you’d rather vote in person, you can do so during early voting and on Election Day. If you register to vote after October 31, you will not receive a ballot in the mail but can still vote in person.

For any active-duty military, their families, or overseas citizens, registration may be completed and absentee ballots may be requested using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which is typically done by mail. You may need to research your local election office for information regarding delivery and return methods, and should expect your absentee ballot at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven’t received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, you should contact your local election office. If you’re unable to vote via the FPCA, you can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which you’ll also print, sign, and mail to your local election office.

​​What to bring/expect when you vote

If you vote in person on Election Day, you’ll need a valid form of ID. If your ID form has an address on it, that address must be in the state of Colorado. There are many different types of ID you can bring that are valid for voting, including a Colorado driver’s license; U.S. passport; U.S. birth certificate (or a certified copy); US military ID with a photo; Medicare or Medicaid card, or a number of other forms of identification that show some combination of your legal name, residence, and/or photo.

If you don’t have your ID or forgot it at home, you can still vote via a provisional ballot (where your signature is used to validate your identification). You can also request a mail ballot to take home, complete, and return to your county clerk.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections

What’s on the ballot: key races and issues

While it’s not a Presidential Election, every election is an important one. This year in Colorado, we’re looking at a few different and interesting races and issues. For starters, Jared Polis is the incumbent candidate running against several other candidates representing Republican, American Constitution, LIbertarian, and Unity parties. Lieutenant Governor will also be on the ballot, with incumbent Dianne Primavera racing against four other candidates across several parties. Other Colorado official offices being voted on include: Attorney General, Secretary of State, Board of Education, and Treasurer, among others. Additionally, seats for US Congress and US Senate are potentially up for grabs, with three candidates for Congress and an impressive five on the ballot for Senate.

As for issues being voted upon, we’re looking at a proposed state tax reduction, which would decrease state tax from the current 4.55% to 4.40%. To not very many folks’ surprise, the decriminalization of certain psychedelics and fungi will be on the ballot this November, meaning the growth, possession, and use of specified substances for people over 21 years old may not incur legal consequences.

And continuing the fun, voters will also find the topic of alcohol delivery service on the ballot this year, allowing businesses to offer it to consumers (giving us lovely flashbacks to Covid margarita deliveries).

You can use BallotPedia to get a comprehensive look at what else is on this year’s ballot.

What are key deadlines for the November 2022 election?

In person and online registration is available right up until the day of Election Day on November 8, beginning October 24 for early voting. The same November 8 deadline is applicable for mail-in ballots (i.e., ballots must be received by November 8).

How can I volunteer as a poll worker?

If you’re passionate about exercising the right to vote and facilitating others in that process, you should consider volunteering as a poll worker in Colorado. There are certain criteria you’ll need to meet to be eligible, and in order to get that process started you’ll have to contact the county elections official for the region you’d like to volunteer in.

Results of June 2022 Colorado Primaries

If you did not vote earlier this year in the 2022 Colorado Primaries, it may be worthwhile to check out the results to better inform you about the upcoming November election.

Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.