Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

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Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

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Major Political Parties FAQs

Q1. What is a major political party?

A1. A major political 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 10% of the total gubernatorial votes cast."

Q2. What is required of a major political party organization?

A2. Colorado law requires major political parties to comply with a number of organizational requirements. This includes, holding precinct caucuses and forming various central committees.

Q3. When are major political party precinct caucuses held?

A3. Major political parties must hold their precinct caucuses in each even-numbered year to elect precinct committee persons and delegates to county assemblies. For more information about caucuses, see our Caucus FAQs.

Q4. What is a central committee?

A4. A central committee conducts party governance and fills vacancies in offices held by members of the major political party.

Q5. What are the types of central committees?

A5. The types of central committees are:

  • County;
  • Congressional;
  • Judicial District;
  • State Senatorial;
  • State Representative; and
  • State.

Q6. What are the requirements of a County Central Committee?

A6. The central committee must hold an organizational meeting between February 1st and 15th of odd numbered years. The meeting will be used to elect officers and select vacancy committee designees. Then, no later than 30 days after the organizational meeting, the committee must file with the state party a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of every elected officer and vacancy committee designees.

Q7. What are the requirements of a Congressional, Judicial District, State Senatorial, and State Representative Central Committee?

A7. The central committee must hold organizational meetings between February 15th and April 1st of odd-numbered years. The meeting will be used to elect officers and select vacancy committee designees. Then, no later than 30 days after the organizational meeting, the committee must file with the state party a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of every elected officer and vacancy committee designees.

Q8. What are the requirements of a State Central Committee?

A8. The central committee must hold an organizational meeting between February 15th and April 1st of odd-numbered years. The meeting will be used to elect officers and select vacancy committee designees. The central committee must also make several filings with the Secretary of State. These filings include:

  • A full list of committee membership within 10 days after the organizational meeting;
  • A list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each of the officers elected and the vacant committee designees no later than 30 days after their organizational meeting;
  • The committee's by-laws no later than the first Monday in February in each even-numbered year and if filed prior to that date, the bylaws or rules may be amended up until that date; and
  • Compiled information concerning the membership of the county central committees of the party.

Q9. How are major political party candidates placed on the primary election ballot?

A9. All candidates (including major political party candidates) who wish to participate in a primary election must be placed on the primary election ballot either by assembly designation or by petition. To be eligible to receive votes as a write-in candidate, the candidate must file a write-in candidate affidavit of intent.

Q10. How is a candidate designated by assembly?

A10. An assembly to designate candidates for the primary election ballot may be held no later than 73 days before the primary election. Candidates must receive 30% or more of the votes of the assembly delegates to be certified to the primary election ballot. Refer to Sections 1-4-601, 1-4-602, and 1-4-604 of the Colorado Revised Statutes for information about assembly delegates and forms that must be filed with the Secretary of State.

Q11. How is a candidate designated by petition?

A11. Candidates may petition on to the primary election ballot. No candidate, however, who attempted and failed to receive at least 10% of the vote at the party assembly may utilize the petition process to access the primary election ballot.

Certain rules and restrictions apply to the petition process. This includes:

  • That petitions may not be circulated before the 3rd Tuesday in January, and must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than the 3rd Tuesday in March; and
  • That petitions meet format and signature requirements.

Q12. How do I become a write-in candidate?

A12. A write-in candidate must file an affidavit of intent, by the close of business on the 67th day before the primary election.

Q13. Can a Primary Election be cancelled?

A13. Yes. If there is not more than one candidate from any major party seeking each office on the primary election ballot at the close of business on the 60th day before the primary election, then the primary election may be cancelled.

Q14. What is the process for selecting election judges?

A14. Major political parties are entitled to participate in the election judge selection process. The county chairperson must submit a list of registered electors who are interested in participating as an election judge to the county clerk and recorder no later than 10 days after the precinct caucuses in even-numbered years. This list must include, the names and addresses of the registered electors who expressed a desire to participate as an election judge.

For partisan elections, each major political 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 major political party has an equal number of election judges in each location where election activities are occurring.

Q15. Can a major political party have an election watcher?

A15. Yes. For the primary, general, and congressional vacancy elections, each participating major political party is entitled to have 1 designated election watcher present in each precinct. For more information regarding election watchers see our Watchers FAQs.