So you voted for a candidate who dropped out of the election. What happens to your vote?

We asked the Clerk and Recorder’s office about what happens to votes for candidates who withdraw from the race.
2 min. read
Early voters drop off their ballots at a drive-through collection station outside Denver Elections Division headquarters on Bannock Street, Nov. 7, 2022.
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

As Denver nears the April 4 election and campaigns deplete their campaign coffers, some candidates already on the ballot might be considering whether to withdraw from the race.

One, Tattered Cover CEO Kwame Spearman, already has.

So what happens to the votes of people who supported Spearman or other candidates no longer in the race? Can they vote again? Could the person still conceivably be elected?

We reached out to the Clerk and Recorder's office to find out about the withdrawal process.

Candidates who withdraw have to do so formally by filling out a form with the Clerk and Recorder's office. If they collected money from the Fair Elections Fund, whatever is unspent has to be returned. There are various rules for how campaign contributions can be spent, which we wrote about earlier this year.

So what if the candidate you vote for withdraws?

If someone voted for a candidate that has withdrawn, the vote no longer counts. Instead, it is considered an undervote for that race, which is similar to if they hadn't selected a candidate in the race," explained Clerk and Recorder spokesperson Lucille Wenegieme. "The rest of the voter's ballot is tallied as normal."

But what if the voter wants to support a different candidate now that their vote has been rendered meaningless. Welp, that's a vain regret.

"If a voter has already completed a ballot and sent it to us, they have voted and cannot receive another ballot," Wenegieme noted.

But let's say a voters has filled in the bubble but still has the ballot. In that case, there is hope.

"If the voter still has their ballot, there are instructions in it for how to strike out their prior selection and make a new one before returning the ballot to us," Wenegieme explained. "Voters can contact us at 720-913-VOTE (8683) if they have any questions or need support finding anything."

Need help voting? Check out our 2023 voter guide here.

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