3 candidates drop out days before Colorado's Democratic primary with 1 million votes already cast

No recourse if you've already returned your ballots for Buttigieg, Klobuchar or Steyer
Posted at 2:56 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 00:46:39-05

DENVER – Colorado’s Democratic and Republican primaries will take place Tuesday, and some Democratic primary voters might be wondering what to do if they’ve voted for one of the three candidates who have dropped out of the race in the past few days.

Since Colorado is a mail-in ballot state, voters have been casting their ballots here for several weeks. But with Tom Steyer dropping out Saturday, then Pete Buttigieg dropping Sunday and Amy Klobuchar ending her campaign Monday, many voters have been wondering if it’s possible for them to change their votes if they already voted for one of those candidates.

For anyone who has already mailed in or dropped off their signed and sealed ballot, you’re out of luck and won’t be able to vote again, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

If you already filled in a bubble but have yet to drop your ballot off, you may cross out the name of that person on your ballot and fill in another bubble, then put the ballot in the envelope and seal and sign it.

Voters who have not submitted their ballot can also get a new ballot at a Voter Service and Polling Center and vote in-person.

To find your polling center or nearest ballot dropbox, click here.

And whatever you do, do not vote twice. Trying to cast more than one ballot could land you with a several-thousand-dollar fine or prison time.

Klobuchar announced she was suspending her campaign Monday about an hour before she was set to make a 1 p.m. appearance in Denver. A campaign spokesperson said she will instead fly to Dallas Monday afternoon to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden.

A campaign worker at the Denver event center said Klobuchar’s announcement “surprised all of us.”

Some supporters, though disappointed, said they were now looking at other candidates with just over 24 hours to vote.

“I guess it helps heal my decision to probably go for Biden. I never thought I’d say that at the beginning of this … but you know, at this point, the way things are shaping up, I feel like that’s going to be our strongest chance to defeat Trump,” undecided voter Kimberly Miller said.

“I mean I could certainly support Biden if he was the nominee. But in my heart at this point I would go with Elizabeth Warren,” Mary Ann Paranelli added.

Buttigieg is also expected to endorse Biden in Dallas on Monday – as the moderate candidates trailing so far after four primaries and caucuses appear to be clearing the way for Biden to battle with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg for the party’s nomination as fears grow among some Democrats that Sanders could be the nominee.

Biden also picked up Colorado endorsements Monday from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and former U.S. Senator Mark Udall, our partners at The Denver Post reported.

The Vermont senator led a poll released in Colorado last week by 12 points over Warren, and by 15 and 16 points, respectively, over Buttigieg, Bloomberg and Biden. He is also expected to perform well in several other Super Tuesday states, according to polls.

The Secretary of State’s Office said that turnout for Colorado Super Tuesday primary “could be record-setting” and that county clerks anticipated a large number of ballots to be returned Monday and Tuesday.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, 1,226,276 ballots had been returned: 619,947 Democratic ballots and 526,702 Republican ballots.

Among unaffiliated voters, 203,548 had returned Democratic ballots and 95,573 had returned Republican ballots, the Secretary of State's Office said.

Tuesday’s presidential primary is the first in Colorado in 20 years. Thirteen other states also have primaries on Super Tuesday, which will be crucial in determining which candidate takes the delegate lead heading into the next rounds of primaries in coming weeks.

Candidates have to receive 15% support statewide in Colorado, or in the seven congressional districts, in order to win delegates. Sixty-seven pledged delegates are at stake in Colorado – 23 based on statewide results and 44 based on congressional district-level results.

As of Monday, Sanders led with 60 delegates, followed by Biden (54), Buttigieg (26), Warren (8) and Klobuchar (7), according to The Associated Press.