COLORADO — Between caucuses, assemblies, and primaries, there can be confusion this time of year when it comes to elections.
While Colorado holds "open primaries" where unaffiliated voters can either vote on a Democratic or Republican primary ballot, there's still a process before the primary election for candidates to get on the ballot.
Starting this week, local political parties will be holding caucuses.
In El Paso County, Republicans will meet at local precinct locations on Tuesday, Democrats will be holding hybrid in-person and virtual caucuses Saturday, March 5.
So, what's a caucus, and who can participate in them?
Simply put, it's a meeting for local party members where they'll select local delegates, alternates, and committee members for upcoming assemblies. Anyone who's a registered member of their party 22 days before the caucus is held is allowed to participate.
If you're a registered Democrat or Republican, you can look on the party's website or reach out to the county party to find out where to go for the caucus.
In a few weeks, Democrats and Republicans will be holding county-wide and congressional district assemblies and then statewide assemblies.
The assembly process is one of two ways candidates can get onto the primary ballot in Colorado. Candidates that receive at least 30 percent of votes at an assembly can earn a spot on the primary ballot.
Candidates can also get on the ballot through the petition process by collecting the required number of signatures of registered voters.
Unlike the caucus and assembly process, unaffiliated voters can participate in Colorado primaries, but they need to pick one party to vote in.
Passed in 2016, Colorado voters decided to allow unaffiliated voters, which make up the largest voting bloc in the state, to vote in primary elections.
Unless specified beforehand, unaffiliated voters will receive both Democratic and Republican primary ballots but can only return one.
Colorado's primary election is June 28.
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