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'Down ballot' candidates often forgotten by voters during elections

Posted: 6:26 AM, Jun 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-03 19:01:08-04

DENVER – Colorado voters will vote in the primary election later this month and for the first time, the state’s unaffiliated voters will have a say in which Democrat and Republican candidates make it to the final ballot. However, if history repeats itself, many of the people who submit their votes won’t vote past the top race or two on the ballot.

Sheila Kowal says that’s what happened in the general election back in 2014.

“A million people voted for John Hickenlooper for governor, but then because of a lack of familiarity with the candidates and the offices and what they’re responsible for, secretary of state, attorney general and treasurers, 200,000 fewer people voted for each of these three races than voted for John Hickenlooper,” she told Anne Trujillo on this weekend’s Politics Unplugged .

Kowal is one of the organizers of a series of forums helping educate voters with “down-ballot” candidates from the Democratic party. Those are candidates running for races other the governor’s race. Kowal says Democrats are more likely to only vote in the governor’s race than their Republican counterparts.

“Republicans are typically very conscious of voting for their incumbent candidates, they are disciplined and they vote a straight ticket,” Kowal said. “Often, democrats who are not familiar with races or with names will say ‘I may be voting for people I don’t know’ so they don’t vote at all,” she said.

There are three forums coming up for voters. All are free. Doors open a half hour before the event starts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Highlands Methodist Church

3131 Osceola Street, Denver 80212

Thursday, June 7, 2018

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church (Park Hill)

2201 Dexter Street, Denver 80207

Saturday, June 9, 2018

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Historic Evans School

1115 Acoma, Denver 80204

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7 and Noon on KCDO (K3).