Major Political Parties FAQs

Contents
Accessing the Ballot
Caucuses

Electoral College
Major Parties
Minor Parties and Qualified Political Organizations

 

Major Party

What is a major political party (“major party”)?

A Major Party is defined as “any political party that at the last preceding gubernatorial election was represented on the official ballot either by political party candidates or by individual nominees and whose candidate at the last preceding gubernatorial election received at least ten percent of the total gubernatorial votes cast.” [1]

 

Do I have to be registered with the major party to participate?

Yes.

In order to vote at any precinct caucus, assembly, or convention of a major party, an elector must be a resident of the precinct for 30 days, must have registered to vote no later than 29 days before the caucus, assembly, or convention, and must be affiliated with the major party holding the caucus, assembly, or convention for at least 2 months. [2]


What is required of a major party organization?

Under Colorado law, major parties must comply with a number of organizational requirements such as holding precinct caucuses and forming various central committees.


When are precinct caucuses held?

Major parties must hold precinct caucuses in each even-numbered year to elect precinct committee persons and delegates to county assemblies. [3

I have more questions about caucuses, see our caucus FAQs.

 

What is a central committee?

A central committee conducts party governance and fills vacancies in offices held by members of the major party.

 

What are the types of central committes?

  1. County
  2. Congressional, Judicial District, State Senatorial, and State Representative
  3. State

 

What are the requirements of a county central committee?

  • Must hold an organizational meeting between February 1st and 15th of odd-numbered years to elect officers and select vacancy committee designees.

  • Committee members must meet membership requirements. [4]

  • Must file a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each of the officers elected and the vacancy committee designees no later than 30 days after the organizational meeting.

 

What are the requirements of a Congressional, Judicial District, State Senatorial, and State Representative central committees?

  • Must hold organizational meetings between February 15th and April 1st of odd-numbered years to elect officers and select vacancy committee designees.

  • Committee members must meet membership requirements. [5]

  • Each committee must file a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each of the officers elected and the vacancy committee designees no later than 30 days after their organizational meeting.

 

What are the requirements of a state central committee?

  • Must hold an organizational meeting between February 15th and April 1st of odd-numbered years to elect officers and select vacancy committee designees.

  • Committee members must meet membership requirements. [6]

  • Must file the following with the Secretary of State:

    • A full list of committee membership within 10 days after the organizational meeting. [7]

    • A list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each of the officers elected and the vacancy committee designees no later than 30 days after their organizational meeting. [8]

    • The committee’s by-laws no later than the first Monday in February in each even-numbered year. [9]

 

What happens at a primary election?

Major parties are required to hold primary elections to nominate general election candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, all elective state, district and county offices, and the general assembly. [10]

 

How are candidates placed on the primary ballot?

All candidates who wish to participate in a primary election must be placed on the primary election ballot by assembly designation, by petition, or by filing a write-in candidate affidavit of intent.

 

How is a candidate designated by assembly?

An assembly to designate candidates for the primary ballot may be held no later than 73 days before the primary election. Every candidate who receives 30% or more of the votes of assembly delegates will be certified to  the primary ballot. Refer to sections 1-4-601, 1-4-602, and 1-4-604, C.R.S., for information about assembly delegates and forms that must be filed with the Secretary of State.

 

How is a candidate designated by petition?

Candidates may also petition on to the primary ballot, however no candidate who attempted and failed to receive at least 10% of the vote at the party assembly may be placed on the primary ballot by petition. [11]

  • Petitions may not be circulated before the last Monday in February, and must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than 85 days before the primary election. [12]
  • Petition must meet format and signature requirements. [13]

 

How do I become a write-in candidate?

A write in candidate must file an affidavit of intent [14], by the close of business on the 67th day before the primary election. [15]

 

Can a primary election be cancelled?

Yes, if, at the close of business on the 60th day before the primary election, there is not more than one candidate from any major party seeking each office on the primary ballot. [16]

 

What happens at a major party convention?

Major party conventions may be held to nominate candidates for vacancies to unexpired terms of congress, presidential electors, and delegates to national party conventions. [17]

 

What is the election judge selection process?

Major parties are entitled to participate in the election judge selection process. No later than the last Tuesday of April of even-numbered years, the county chairperson must submit a list to the county clerk and recorder that includes the names and addresses of registered electors who expressed a desire to participate as an election judge during precinct caucuses and who are recommended by the party. [18]

 For partisan elections, each major party is entitled to an equal number of election judges in each county. The county clerk and recorder will, to the extent feasible, ensure that each party has an equal number of judges in each precinct. [19]

 

Can the major party have an election watcher?

Yes, for primary, general, and congressional vacancy elections, each participating major party is entitled to have one designated watcher present in each precinct.

 

How are the election watchers selected?

The chairperson of the major party’s county central committee is required to submit a list of certified watchers to the county clerk and recorder. The list must be submitted by the Friday before the election (to the extent possible). Upon receipt of the list, the county clerk and recorder will certify the appointment of the eligible watchers.  The watcher with be given a Certificate of Appointment.

 

Is the watcher's certificate of appointment transferable?

No, the certificate is only good for that watcher and is not transferable to another person.

 

How long is the watcher's certificate of appointment valid?

Watchers may come and go throughout the day without bringing a new certificate. [20]

 

I have more questions.

Contact the Elections Ballot Access program at 303-869-4938, or email us at ballot.access@sos.state.co.us.

 

 

 

[1] 1-1-104(22), C.R.S.
[2] 1-3-101(1), C.R.S.
[3] 1-3-102, C.R.S
[4] 1-3-103(1)(b)(I), C.R.S.
[5] 1-3-103(3)-(6), C.R.S.
[6] 1-3-103(2), C.R.S.
[7] 1-3-103(2)(b), C.R.S.
[8] 1-3-103(7), C.R.S.
[9] 1-3-103(9), C.R.S.
[10] 1-4-101(3), C.R.S.
[11] 1-4-801(4), C.R.S.
[12] 1-4-801(5), C.R.S.
[13] 1-4-801(1), C.R.S.
[14] 1-4-1101(1), C.R.S.
[15] 1-4-1102(1), C.R.S.
[16] 1-4-104.5(1), C.R.S.
[17] 1-4-701, C.R.S.
[18] 1-6-102 and 1-6-103, C.R.S.
[19] 1-6-109(1), C.R.S
[20] 1-7-105 & 1-7-106, C.R.S.; Election Rule 8