All about U: Denver Chamber

Kelly Brough with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce speaks at a kickoff for the UChooseCO campaign targeted at unaffiliated voters at a news conference in Denver in April. Two decorated wooden U’s sit on the podium. (SOS photo)

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce was a big supporter of a 2016 ballot measure to allow unaffiliated voters to automatically participate in primary elections so of course chamber president and CEO Kelly Brough was invited to speak this year at a kickoff to talk about what those voters needed to know.

Mainly, don’t spoil it.

Unaffiliated voters who did not indicate a ballot preference — whether they wanted a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot — will automatically be sent both when clerks mail out ballots this week to in-state voters. If a voter marks up both ballots, for example, a Republican candidate for treasurer and a Democratic candidate for attorney general, neither ballot will count. Only vote one ballot.

The U decorated by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams launched the @UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

“By allowing unaffiliated voters to vote, we believe our elected officials will be rewarded for solving problems and finding solutions,” Brough said at the Denver kickoff.

“… This is all about being fair and in Colorado we like things to be fair.”

Williams also has handed out wooden U’s and asked recipients to decorate them.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

“In Colorado, we like things to be fair”

Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who announced in December she was leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an unaffiliated voter, speaks at a UChooseCO event Tuesday aimed at informing unaffiliated voters about the primary election. Seated to her left is Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Two Colorado politicians who are unaffiliated appealed Tuesday to other unaffiliated voters to get involved in the June 26 primary election and help choose which Democratic and Republican hopefuls will be on the ballot in November.

Richard Skorman, president of the Colorado Springs City Council, and state Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, said they are glad not to be unaffiliated with any party. Skorman has been unaffiliated since 2002, while Jahn announced last December that after voting independently for years she was leaving the Democratic Party.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers writes on an inflatable “U” that is part of the UChooseCO campaign for unaffiliated voters as Colorado Springs City Council President Richard Skorman looks on. (UChooseCO photo)

“I really think there’s a lot of us out there who want to be able to weigh in on both sides,” Skorman said, during a news conference at Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs in the morning.

“I want you to know how important your voices are,” Jahn said, during a news conference on the west steps of the state Capitol in Denver in the afternoon.

The events were part of the Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ UChooseCO campaign to help inform unaffiliated voters about their new rights and responsibilities for participating in primary elections.  The campaign kicked off last week in Grand Junction.

Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita,  financed and led Proposition 108, which voters passed in 2016 giving unaffiliated voters — the largest voting block in Colorado — the right to automatically receive primary ballots.

He said in Washington lawmakers have taken him aside to say they would like to vote on compromise bills but if they did they would be knocked out in their next primary election.

“We’ve got lots of elected officials who will be liberated to govern in ways they haven’t been historically,” Thiry told the Denver crowd.

At each event, speakers were asked to write on a yellow, 8-foot, inflatable U a word or phrase that reflected their values. The U’s will remain in their communities during the campaign. Williams, who lives in Colorado Springs and suffers a miserable commute to work in Denver, wrote “I-25” on the U in Colorado Springs. He continued the theme in Denver, writing “transportation” on that inflatable.

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