November 25, 2022

Requirements for Political Candidates Trying to Get a Ballot in Colorado


The 2022 election is 11 months away, and a wave of candidates are filing documents to run in Colorado’s newly reconfigured congressional and legislative districts.

But running into a race doesn’t guarantee someone a spot on the ballot for the June 28 primaries, let alone the November 8 general election. Candidates have to spend a lot of money to qualify for the competition, or they may try to gain enough support from members of their political party through what is called the caucus and assembly process.

The mad race to vote begins in January, with the primary ballot set for April 29.

Here’s how the process works for Democratic and Republican candidates:

Applicants must have certain qualifications

The federal and state governments set the conditions for candidates to stand for election.

First of all, the candidates must be affiliated with a political party January 1, 2022, to run for the Democratic or Republican nomination.

To run for the US Senate, applicants must Also:

  • Be at least 30 years old
  • Have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years
  • Be a resident of the state at the time of the election

To run for the House of the United States, applicants must:

  • Be at least 25 years old
  • Have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years
  • Live in the state they represent, but not necessarily in the congressional district they are running for

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Anyone applying for a position in Colorado must be a U.S. citizen. But that’s not the only requirement.

  • To run for governor or lieutenant governor, candidates must:
    • Be at least 30 years old
    • Be a Colorado resident for at least two years
  • To run for the post of Treasurer, Secretary of State or Attorney General, candidates must:
    • Be at least 25 years old
    • Be a Colorado resident for at least two years
  • To run for the Senate or State House, candidates must:
    • Be at least 25 years old
    • Have lived in Colorado and the district they seek to represent for at least a year
  • To run for the post of Regent of the University of Colorado, State Board of Education, or District Attorney, candidates must:
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Be a Colorado resident and live in the district they are running for, unless they are running for a statewide general headquarters

The caucus and assembly process

The caucus and assembly process is considered the traditional and popular method of getting to the polls. It is also the least predictable way to get elected.

Candidates must cultivate the support of party members who show up at precinct caucuses, where a handful of people – sometimes just two or three – come together to support someone and elect delegates. These delegates move on to county, district, and state assemblies where they help form party platforms and nominate candidates for everything from county offices to the United States Senate.

Only voters registered as Republicans or Democrats before February 7 can attend constituency caucuses, which are scheduled to be held between March 1 and March 5. Typically, subsequent caucuses and assemblies attract primarily party activists. That’s because it takes dedication – and a lot of time – to participate.

To vote by caucus and assembly, candidates must obtain at least 30% of the delegate vote at each stage. This limits the number of candidates who can leave an assembly to three, although it is usually less.

For example, in the 2018 caucus and governors’ assembly process, Democrats named Cary Kennedy, then U.S. Representative Jared Polis, while Republicans named state treasurer Walker Stapleton and former mayor. by Parker Greg Lopez.

U.S. Representative Jared Polis, left, chats with CBS4’s Shaun Boyd, center, and Walker Stapleton ahead of the channel’s talk, in partnership with The Colorado Sun, Friday, October 5, 2018 (Jesse Paul , The Colorado Sun)

But those four were far from the only candidates seeking to be on the primary ballot that year.

The caucus and assembly process can be somewhat unpredictable as delegates can change their support from one candidate to another at the last minute. The 2016 Republican primary for the US Senate is a prime example, where El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn surprised many political observers by courting party activists in the last minute and vote. In the process, he denied others a chance to win the GOP nomination.

The petition process

Candidates can also file a petition to get on the ballot by collecting the signatures of voters registered with their party. These signatures are then reviewed and confirmed by the Secretary of State’s office.

January 18 is the first day Democratic or Republican candidates can begin collecting these signatures. Signatures must be submitted by March 15th.

The rules for collecting signatures are somewhat complicated, and going the petition route can be costly – like tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars – especially for applicants across the state who typically hire private companies to to do work.

Here are the requirements:

  • Candidates for the US Senate and candidates for the office of governor must collect 1,500 valid signatures from voters in each of Colorado’s eight congressional districts. This represents at least 12,000 signatures, although applicants typically collect many more signatures than they need in the event that some signatures are rejected during the review process.
  • Regent candidates of the US House, State Board of Education, and CU must collect the lesser of the two: 1,500 signatures or 10% of the votes cast in the last primary election (or general election if there was no primary) held in the district
  • Candidates for secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general must collect 1,000 signatures from each of the state’s eight congressional districts. That’s at least 8,000 signatures.
  • Candidates for the State Chamber and the Senate must collect the lesser of the two: 1,000 signatures or 30% of the votes cast in the last primary election (or general elections if there was no primary) held in the district
  • Candidates for regents at the University of Colorado must collect 500 signatures from each of the state’s eight congressional districts for a total of 4,000 signatures

There is often a race to submit signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, because once a voter has been counted on a candidate’s petition, they cannot be counted for another candidate at the same office.

Problems can also arise with the signature collection process.

In 2018, Stapleton paid a company roughly $ 235,000 to collect signatures so he could participate in the poll. But he withdrawn signatures he submitted to the secretary of state’s office at the last minute when he learned that the company he had hired did not follow state laws.

Stapleton then won a lawsuit against Kennedy Enterprises, the signature collection company, which was ordered to return the money.

Campaign finance records do not show how much Republican 2018 gubernatorial candidates Victor Mitchell and Doug Robinson or Democrats Donna Lynne and Mike Johnston paid to participate in the poll. But Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser spent nearly $ 175,000 to vote in 2018, and Republican candidate for treasurer Polly Lawrence spent $ 128,000.

Candidates for Congress so far

We track candidates for Colorado congressional seats using the Federal Election Commission website.

So far, more than 50 people have applied for the state seat of the U.S. Senate and all eight U.S. House seats up for grabs in 2022.

Here is a list of candidates with information about them.

Here is a list of candidates for statewide offices:

And here is a list of legislative candidates to date:

These lists will be updated periodically. If you are a candidate and think you should be on the list, send an email to [email protected]


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