A User-Friendly Guide To the 2022 Denver Primary Election

Denver’s 2022 primary elections are upon us, and it’s time to get out the vote. This year’s Denver primary election races focus on the state and federal level. Republicans and Democrats are seeking a spot in this year’s midterm ballot. This guide features everything you need to know to vote with confidence this June.

Election and Voting Timeline

Photo by Amanda Piela.

June 6

  • 22-day Colorado residency deadline. If you register to vote after this date and have lived in Colorado for 22 days or more by June 6, you are still eligible to vote in the June primary.
  • If you move to Colorado any time after June 6, you can register to vote and will be eligible for future elections.
  • Ballots begin mailing to registered voters.
  • 24-Hour Ballot Drop-Off Boxes open across the city.
  • Last day to change or withdraw affiliation to participate in a different party’s primary

June 13

  • Webb Building vote center opens on 201 W. Colfax Ave.

June 20

  • All vote centers open in Denver. Find the closest drop box or vote center to you.
  • Last day to return a ballot by mail to ensure timely delivery (after this date, use a drop box or vote center)
  • Last day to register to vote to receive a ballot in the mail (after this date, vote in person)

June 28

  • Primary Election Day and the last day to vote.
  • Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. MDT.

Voter Checklist

Photo by Amanda Piela

Check, Update or File Your Voter Registration

First, double-check your voter registration to make sure it’s up to date. You should be registered to vote at your current address. Additionally, you should check to make sure your voter registration is active — it may need to be reactivated if you moved in between elections! Colorado is an semi-closed primary state, so Democratic, Republican and Unaffiliated voters can participate in the Democratic or Republican primary. Registered Democrats and Republicans will receive their party ballot in the mail automatically.


If you’re an Unaffiliated voter, you can indicate your preference of ballot on your voter registration, though you will likely receive primary ballots for both parties automatically. You can only vote on one party ballot. If you turn in a ballot for both parties, neither will count.

Keep An Eye Out For Your Ballot

Voters with active registrations will automatically receive a mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed starting June 6. If you prefer to vote in person, you can find information here.

Make a Plan To Vote and Research Your Ballot

Once you receive your mail-in ballot, it’s important to make a voting plan ahead of time. You should consider how you want to return your ballot: by mail or drop box? Would you rather vote in person? You’ll want to look up your polling location. Making a plan to vote ensures you can make it to the finish line and cast your ballot. Voters who mail in their ballot or return by drop box can sign up for BallotTrax to track their ballot.

Of course, you need to sit down and fill out your ballot. You can find a sample Democratic ballot here and a sample Republican ballot here. Below is a breakdown of this year’s primary candidates. You can read more about how to spot misinformation in elections here.

Democratic Ballot

Governor Jared Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor

Contested Races

Congressional District 1

Diana DeGette (Incumbent): Congresswoman Diana DeGette has served in Colorado Congressional District 1 since 1997. Her focus areas for 2022 include accessible healthcare, protecting natural resources and expanding reproductive rights. 

Neal Walia: Neal Walia is running as a grassroots candidate. His background includes experience with Governor Hickenlooper and most recently, Quorum, a public affairs software company. Walia’s policy priorities include decarbonization and secure housing for all Denver residents.

Regent of The University of Colorado, Congressional District 1

Johnnie Nguyen: Nguyen is a practicing attorney; he graduated from CU Denver with a bachelor’s degree and earned his law degree from Colorado Law at CU Boulder. His platform includes focusing on the racial wealth gap, forgiving student loans and supporting CU unions.

Wanda L. James: James is a CU alumnus and a longtime advocate for decriminalizing cannabis in Colorado and nationwide. Her areas of focus include affordability, free speech and student achievement. 

Colorado State Representative District 6:

Elisabeth Epps: Elisabeth Epps is the founder and Executive Director of Colorado Freedom Fund. She’s campaigning as an abolitionist candidate focused on serving the most vulnerable Coloradans. You can read her full platform on her website.

Katie March: Katie March is an educator, civil advocate and former Colorado legislative staffer. Her priorities center on gun violence prevention, labor rights and land conservation. You can read her full platform on her website.  

Unopposed Races

These candidates are unopposed in the primary and will move on to the general election. Take a moment to learn more about them, their experience and their platforms:

Governor: Jared Polis (Incumbent)

Secretary of State: Jena Griswold (Incumbent)

State Treasurer: Dave Young (Incumbent)

Attorney General: Phil Weiser (Incumbent)

State Board of Education Member (At Large): Kathy Plomer 

State Board of Education Member: Congressional District 6: Rebecca McClellan (Incumbent)

State Senator District 32: Senator Robert Rodriguez (Incumbent)

State Senator District 34: Senator Julie C. Gonzales (Incumbent)

State Representative District 1: Javier Mabrey

State Representative District 2: Representative Steven Woodrow (Currently serves District 6, now running in District 2. District 2 is currently represented by Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, who reached his term limit.)

State Representative District 3: Representative Meg Froelich (Incumbent)

State Representative District 4: Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (Incumbent)

State Representative District 5: Representative Alez Valdez (Incumbent)

State Representative District 7: Representative Jennifer Bacon (Incumbent)

State Representative District 8: Representative Leslie Herod (Incumbent)

State Representative District 9: Representative Emily Sirota (Incumbent) 

Republican Ballot

Heidi Ganahl, candidate for Colorado Governor. Photo courtesy of Heidi for Governor

Contested Races

U.S. Senator

Ron Hanks: Ron Hanks is a Colorado State Representative serving District 60. His platform issue areas include energy independence, the second amendment, and lessening a national focus on climate change reform. Hanks is a controversial candidate, as he participated in the January 6th U.S. Capitol attacks.  

Joe O’Dea: Joe O’Dea is the CEO of Concrete Express Inc., a Denver-based construction company. This is his first run for public office. His areas of focus include inflation, reducing the national debt and public safety. 

Voters may also write-in their vote for this race.


Greg Lopez: Greg Lopez is the former mayor of Parker and former President of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His issue areas include forest management to prevent wildfires, public safety and restoring water supply. 

Heidi Ganahl: Heidi Ganahl is a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. She is also the former founder and CEO of a pet care company. Her priorities include supporting law enforcement, lowering state taxes and fees to lower the cost of living and forest management as a form of wildfire prevention. 

Secretary of State

Tina Peters: Tina Peters is the former and most recent Mesa County Clerk. Her main focus centers on election administration and security. Peters’ candidacy is controversial, as she faces indictment for breaking into election equipment while overseeing election security.  

Mike O’Donnell: Mike O’Donnell is the Executive Director of Prairie Rose Development Corp., a nonprofit small business lender. His focus areas include election administration and business filing fees. 

Pam Anderson: Pam Anderson is the former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder. Her main area of focus is improving Colorado’s election administration processes. 

Unopposed Races

These candidates are unopposed in the primary and will move on to the general election. Take a moment to learn more about them and their policy positions:

Congressional District 1: Jennifer Qualteri

Congressional District 6: Steven Monahan

State Treasurer: Lang Sias

Attorney General: John Kellner

State Board of Education Member, At Large: Dan Maloit

State Board of Education Member, Congressional District 1: Molly Lamar

Regent of the University of Colorado, District 1: Amy Naes

State Senator District 32: Dean Flanders

State Senator District 34: There are no Republican candidates for this office.

State Representative District 1: Guillermo Diaz

State Representative District 2: Stephanie Wheeler

State Representative District 3: Marla Fernandez

State Representative District 4: Jack Daus

State Representative District 5: Johnnie Johnson

State Representative District 6: Donald D. Howell

State Representative District 7: There are no Republican candidates for this office.

State Representative District 8: Hilleary Waters

State Representative District 9: Tom Cowhick

You made it all the way to the end! Congrats! We hope this guide was helpful. We worked really hard to put it together and would appreciate any support to help us keep going. Consider donating today and you’ll support our team of local writers. 


Updated 7:12 pm May 24, 2022 An earlier version of this article incorrectly explained residency requirements for voter eligibility and the process for Unaffiliated voters. It has since been updated.