Travel

How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts in Denver This November

What you need to know, including critical deadlines, registration details, and how to vote by mail.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections
Denver Elections

Every year seems like it’s more important to vote than ever-and it’s true for 2022, too. After a voter registration surge like no other in the past few years and even more recently among women voters, in particular, Americans are flocking to the polls (or post offices) to cast their votes and elicit change. Voting in Colorado is pretty easy in comparison to other states, given that it offers same-day registration, early voting, and voting by mail. But if you’ve never voted before or just need a refresher of all the important info-including what’s on the ballot this year-this comprehensive guide is just for you.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections
Denver Elections

How to register to vote

Colorado’s a fan of technology, it’s true. Many services that are usually (painfully) in person are available online, including how to register to vote. If this is your first time voting, you can register here. However, if you like doing things the old-fashioned way, you can fill out this form and mail, deliver, or scan and email it to the address listed.

Colorado also offers in-person registration on Election Day, something only about half of all states do. But if you’re planning on same-day registration, make sure you bring all the necessary materials and meet all the following criteria: Be a US citizen; be a resident of Colorado for at least 22 days immediately before the election in which you intend to vote; be at least 16 years old but at least eighteen on or before election day; and not be serving a sentence of detention or confinement for a felony conviction.

How can I see or change my voter status?

In addition to housing the resources necessary to register to vote, you can also use the Colorado Secretary of State website to check your voter status, change your name and/or party affiliation, and more. Be sure to check what voting limitations may apply given your party affiliation and depending on the type of election you’re voting in.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections
Denver Elections

How to vote

If your address is current on your voter registration (or you’ve updated mail forwarding via a service like USPS) and you register to vote at least eight days before Election Day, you’ll receive an official Colorado ballot in the mail by October 31. Once you receive your ballot, you have a limited window to fill it out and either mail it back or drop it in a ballot box before the Election. Additionally, if this is your first time voting by mail, you may also need to provide a copy of your ID with your returned ballot. If you’d rather vote in person, you can do so during early voting and on Election Day. If you register to vote after October 31, you will not receive a ballot in the mail but can still vote in person.

For any active-duty military, their families, or overseas citizens, registration may be completed and absentee ballots may be requested using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which is typically done by mail. You may need to research your local election office for information regarding delivery and return methods, and should expect your absentee ballot at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven’t received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, you should contact your local election office. If you’re unable to vote via the FPCA, you can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which you’ll also print, sign, and mail to your local election office.

​​What to bring/expect when you vote

If you vote in person on Election Day, you’ll need a valid form of ID. If your ID form has an address on it, that address must be in the state of Colorado. There are many different types of ID you can bring that are valid for voting, including a Colorado driver’s license; U.S. passport; U.S. birth certificate (or a certified copy); US military ID with a photo; Medicare or Medicaid card, or a number of other forms of identification that show some combination of your legal name, residence, and/or photo.

If you don’t have your ID or forgot it at home, you can still vote via a provisional ballot (where your signature is used to validate your identification). You can also request a mail ballot to take home, complete, and return to your county clerk.

Denver Elections
Denver Elections
Denver Elections

What’s on the ballot: key races and issues

While it’s not a Presidential Election, every election is an important one. This year in Colorado, we’re looking at a few different and interesting races and issues. For starters, Jared Polis is the incumbent candidate running against several other candidates representing Republican, American Constitution, LIbertarian, and Unity parties. Lieutenant Governor will also be on the ballot, with incumbent Dianne Primavera racing against four other candidates across several parties. Other Colorado official offices being voted on include: Attorney General, Secretary of State, Board of Education, and Treasurer, among others. Additionally, seats for US Congress and US Senate are potentially up for grabs, with three candidates for Congress and an impressive five on the ballot for Senate.

As for issues being voted upon, we’re looking at a proposed state tax reduction, which would decrease state tax from the current 4.55% to 4.40%. To not very many folks’ surprise, the decriminalization of certain psychedelics and fungi will be on the ballot this November, meaning the growth, possession, and use of specified substances for people over 21 years old may not incur legal consequences.

And continuing the fun, voters will also find the topic of alcohol delivery service on the ballot this year, allowing businesses to offer it to consumers (giving us lovely flashbacks to Covid margarita deliveries).

You can use BallotPedia to get a comprehensive look at what else is on this year’s ballot.

What are key deadlines for the November 2022 election?

In person and online registration is available right up until the day of Election Day on November 8, beginning October 24 for early voting. The same November 8 deadline is applicable for mail-in ballots (i.e., ballots must be received by November 8).

How can I volunteer as a poll worker?

If you’re passionate about exercising the right to vote and facilitating others in that process, you should consider volunteering as a poll worker in Colorado. There are certain criteria you’ll need to meet to be eligible, and in order to get that process started you’ll have to contact the county elections official for the region you’d like to volunteer in.

Results of June 2022 Colorado Primaries

If you did not vote earlier this year in the 2022 Colorado Primaries, it may be worthwhile to check out the results to better inform you about the upcoming November election.

Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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