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Our View on elections: Dear readers,

Every election year informs the one that follows, and 2024 is already proving to offer more for Colorado voters. We see progress as elections shift closer to what voters say they want.

Unaffiliated voters, the largest share of Colorado’s electorate, are gaining in numbers, influence and options, starting with the open presidential primary that allowed casting a Republican or Democratic ballot. We like where this is headed with increased power of selection.

Also striking was “noncommitted delegate” on the Democratic primary ballot for president. If 15% of voters get behind this – like for any other candidate – a delegate will represent at the Democratic National Convention for the party’s nominee, opening the race.

Both examples offer glimmers that elections could better serve voters.

In this same spirit, in our 2024 Opinion election coverage, we’re turning our lens toward constituents. Our driving question for candidates: What have potential constituents told you they want? Candidates will also address Opinion readers directly in guest columns with their answers.

Although Opinion coverage differs from news, our approach remains inspired by New York University journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen’s work in The Citizens Agenda, public-powered journalism applied to elections coverage.

Basic idea: Campaign coverage should be grounded in what voters want candidates to discuss as they compete for votes. Not what candidates want to talk about.

Traditionally, the megaphone has blared from candidates toward voters. Journalists and spin doctors have spent too much time calculating strategies and the odds of winners. The Citizens Agenda swivels this model 180 degrees toward constituents and issues important to them.

Journalism has its trends and this one is gaining momentum. We’re glad for that – it comes closest to true representation.

A form of the original question is asked repeatedly with results synthesized into a draft agenda. The agenda is lobbed back at voters. This is what we heard – did we get this right?

As voters identify and articulate finer points, the agenda naturally transforms into a guide for continued, more exacting campaign coverage.

Judgment, nuance and the ability to explain the thinking come into play. It’s all based in the power of connection among neighbors in the Southwest, as well as with the Opinion section.

Like many around us, we’re tired of the noise of residents talking past each other. So keep us clued in on how to reframe issues for editorials, how to listen better.

We’re in the process of inviting more voices into our pages, particularly young voters. Let us know what’s on your mind in letters to the editor. Tell us about a moment when things changed – or could change.

What do you need out of the November election? What’s best for your families, the Four Corners, our world?

Engagement around issues is more compelling than who we’d like to see win races. This is the future for elections. At least, that’s what we’d like to believe. And we’ll do our part.