Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Colorado

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See also
This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Colorado. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Colorado. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: Colorado elections, 2014

Colorado will have a primary election on June 24, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The filing deadline for major party candidates designated by assembly is April 12, 2014. Candidates running by petition method must file by March 31, 2014, and write-in candidates must file by April 18, 2014.[1][2][3] The deadline to file paperwork to create a new political party in time for the 2014 elections is January 10, 2014.[3]

Deadline Event
January 10, 2014 Deadline to file paperwork to create a new political party
March 31, 2014 Filing deadline for candidates running by petition method
April 12, 2014 Filing deadline for major party candidates designated by assembly
April 18, 2014 Filing deadline for write-in candidates
June 24, 2014 Primary election date
November 4, 2014 General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of October 2013, there are five recognized political parties in Colorado.[3]

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
American Constitutional Party http://www.americanconstitutionparty.com/ Party platform
Democratic http://www.coloradodems.org/home Party platform
Green http://www.coloradogreenparty.org/ Party by-laws
Libertarian http://lpcolorado.org/ Party platform
Republican http://www.cologop.org/

Process to become a candidate

See also: Colorado signature requirements
Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states, including Colorado, elect Lt. governors on a single ticket with the governor at both the primary and general elections
  • 5 states elect Lt. governors separately from Governors at the primary and then put the top two vote-getters together on the general election ballot
  • 17 states elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 1, Article 4 of the Colorado Revised Statutes

The process to run for elected office in Colorado is governed by Title 1, Article 4 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. There are many types of candidates in Colorado: major party candidates, minor party candidates, qualified political organization candidates, unaffiliated candidates and write-in candidates. Depending on which type of candidate they are, candidates can gain ballot access in a number of different ways, as outlined below.

All candidates

There are a number of requirements all candidates must follow, no matter which type of candidate they are, including:

  • Candidates must publicly announce their intention to run for office by means of a speech, advertisement, or other communication reported or appearing in public media or in any place accessible to the public. This includes a stated intention to explore the possibility of seeking office.[4][5]
  • All candidates must submit an audio recording of the correct pronunciation of their name. If nominated by assembly, this must be submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State within 10 days after the close of the convention, and if nominated by petition, this must be submitted by the end of the petition filing period.[6]
  • The qualification of any candidate may be challenged by any eligible elector within five days after the candidate has been qualified to be placed on the ballot.[7]

Major party candidates

  • Must have been affiliated with the party by the first business day in January of the year of the election, unless party rules say otherwise.[8][9]
  • Must be elected in the primary election to move on to the general election.[10]
  • There are two ways a major party can place candidates on the primary election ballot:[8]
    • Nomination by assembly
      • Major parties may hold party assemblies to nominate candidates. At these assemblies, delegates vote on possible candidates and may place up to two candidates per office on the primary ballot.[9] Delegates to party assemblies are chosen at yearly precinct caucuses. The process by which assemblies are held is determined in the major party's bylaws.[11]
      • The major party must hold the assembly no later than 73 days before the primary election.[12][9]
      • A candidate must receive 30 percent of votes cast by assembly delegates for that office. If no one receives 30 percent, a second vote will be taken. If no one receives 30 percent again, the top two vote-getters will be the ones nominated.[8][12][9]
      • Within 4 days of the assembly, successful candidates must file a written acceptance of candidacy with the presiding office of the assembly.[9]
      • The presiding officer of the assembly shall then file a certificate of designation by assembly, along with the written acceptance of candidacies, with the Colorado Secretary of State.[13] This certificate shall state the name of the political party, the name and address of each candidate and the office they are seeking. It shall also certify that the candidates have been members of the political party for the required amount of time.[9]
    • Nomination by petition
      • Candidates who attempted to be nominated by assembly and failed to receive at least 10 percent of the delegates' votes may not be nominated by petition for that same party.[8][14]
      • The nominating petition must be signed by eligible electors who have been registered with the political party for at least 29 days and who reside in the district the candidate seeks to represent.[8][14]
      • Candidates who successfully collect the required number of signatures are placed on the primary election ballot.[8] The signature requirements are as follows:[14]
Office sought Number of signatures required
Member of the Colorado State Legislature or U.S. House of Representatives 1,000 or 30 percent of the votes cast in the district in the most recent primary election for the same party and the same office, whichever is fewer. If there was no primary election, general election numbers should be used.
Member of the United States Senate or state executive office 1,500 from each congressional district

Minor party candidates

  • Must have been affiliated with the party by the first business day in January of the year of the election, unless party rules say otherwise.[15]
  • Minor parties nominate their candidates to be on the general election ballot, unless there is more than one candidate nominated for that office. In that case, those candidates are placed on the primary ballot.[8][16]
  • There are two ways minor parties can nominate candidates to be placed on the ballot:
    • Nomination by assembly
      • The minor party must hold an assembly no later than 73 days before the primary election.[16]
      • A successful candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the delegates' votes for that office.[8]
    • Nomination by petition
      • The petition must be signed by eligible electors in the same district the candidate seeks to represent.[15]
      • The signature requirements are as follows:[15]
Office sought Number of signatures required
President or Vice President 5,000
Member of the United States Senate or state executive office 1,000 or two percent of the total votes cast for that office in the last general election, whichever is fewer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives 800 or two percent of the total votes cast for that office in that congressional district in the last general election, whichever is fewer
Member of the Colorado State Senate 600 or two percent of the total votes cast for that office in that senate district in the last general election, whichever is fewer
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives 400 or two percent of the total votes cast for that office in that house district in the last general election, whichever is fewer

Qualified Political Organization (QPO) candidates

  • Must have been affiliated with the QPO for one year, or, if the organization has not been qualified for one year, the candidate must have been registered as unaffiliated for one year.[17]
  • Must petition to be placed on the general election ballot.[18]
  • Each petition must contain an affidavit signed under oath by the chairperson and secretary of the QPO and approved by the Colorado Secretary of State.[17]
  • Signature requirements are the same as those for minor party candidates, which are shown above.[17][15]

Unaffiliated candidates

  • Must be registered as unaffiliated by the first business day in January of the year of the election.[15]
  • Must petition to be placed on the general election ballot.[8]
  • Signature requirements are the same as those for minor party candidates, which are shown above.[8][15]

Write-in candidates

  • Are allowed in both the primary and general elections.[19]
  • Must file an Affidavit of Intent with the Colorado Secretary of State no later than the close of business on the 67th day before a primary election and 110 days before a general election.[8][12][19][20]
  • No write-in vote will be counted unless that candidate filed an Affidavit of Intent.[20]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require interaction with the Colorado Secretary of State, which oversees candidate filing and reporting and all election procedures.

Secretary of State Office
Colorado Department of State
700 Broadway
Denver, CO 80290
Telephone: 303-894-2200
Fax: 303-869-4861
Email: elections@sos.state.co.us
http://www.sos.state.co.us/

Term limits

Colorado state executives and legislators are term limited. These limits were established by the Colorado Term Limits Amendment, which voters passed in 1990.

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in Colorado are as follows:[21]

See also: Colorado state executive official elections, 2014

The state executive who is term-limited in 2014 is:

Name Party Office
John W. Suthers Ends.png Republican Attorney General

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Politicians in Colorado may serve for eight years in either the Colorado State Senate or the Colorado House of Representatives, meaning senators may serve two four-year terms and representatives four two-year terms.[22]

2014

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2014 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2014

A total of 12 state legislators will be termed out in 2014.

  • State Senate: 4
    • Democratic Party 1 Democratic senator
    • Republican Party 3 Republican senators
  • State House: 8
    • Democratic Party 5 Democratic Representatives
    • Republican Party 3 Republican Representatives

They are:

Name Party Chamber District
Gail Schwartz Electiondot.png Democratic State Senate District 5
Bill Cadman Ends.png Republican State Senate District 10
Scott Renfroe Ends.png Republican State Senate District 23
Ted Harvey Ends.png Republican State Senate District 30
Jeanne Labuda Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 1
Mark Ferrandino Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 2
Claire Levy Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 13
Cherylin Peniston Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 35
Spencer Swalm Ends.png Republican State House District 37
Frank McNulty Ends.png Republican State House District 43
Randy Fischer Electiondot.png Democratic State House District 53
Jerry Sonnenberg Ends.png Republican State House District 65

2012

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2012 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2012

A total of 15 state legislators were termed out in 2012.

  • State Senate: 6
    • Democratic Party 4 Democratic senators
    • Republican Party 2 Republican senators
  • State House: 9
    • Democratic Party 5 Democratic Representatives
    • Republican Party 4 Republican Representatives

2010

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2010 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2010

A total of 11 state legislators were termed out in 2010.

  • State Senate: 3
    • Democratic Party 2 Democratic senators
    • Republican Party 1 Republican senator
  • State House: 8
    • Democratic Party 7 Democratic Representatives
    • Republican Party 1 Republican Representative

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from Colorado and List of United States Senators from Colorado

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Colorado:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Colorado
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 3 5
     Republican Party 0 4 4
TOTALS as of September 2014 2 7 9

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Colorado:

State Senate

Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 18
     Republican Party 17
Total 35

State house

Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 37
     Republican Party 28
Total 65

See also

External links

References

  1. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  2. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ballotpedia phone call with Colorado Secretary of State Office, September 9, 2013
  4. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "State Candidates," accessed January 29, 2014
  5. Colorado Secretary of State Rules Concerning Campaign and Political Finance, "Rule 1: Definitions," accessed January 29, 2014
  6. Colorado Secretary of State, "Governor 2014 Candidate Qualification Guide," accessed January 29, 2014
  7. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 501," accessed January 29, 2014
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 Colorado Secretary of State, "How to Run for Office: Candidate Information Guide," accessed January 29, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 601," accessed January 29, 2014
  10. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed January 27, 2014
  11. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 602," accessed February 17, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Ballotpedia phone call with Colorado Secretary of State Office, September 9, 2013
  13. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 604," accessed January 29, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 801," accessed January 29, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 802," accessed January 29, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 1304," accessed January 29, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Colorado Election Rules, "Rule 3: Rules Concerning Qualified Political Organizations," accessed January 27, 2014
  18. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Minor Parties and Qualified Political Organizations FAQs," accessed January 27, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 1102," accessed January 29, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 4, Section 1101," accessed January 29, 2014
  21. Colorado Constitution, "Article IV, Section 1," accessed November 5, 2013
  22. Colorado Legislative Council, "Ballot History," accessed November 5, 2013