1-5-403. Content of ballots for general and congressional vacancy elections
Overview of Statute
In counties using paper ballots or electronically counted ballot cards, the county clerk and recorders must provide printed ballots for every odd-numbered year, general, or congressional vacancy election. The official ballot must be delivered to the county clerk and recorder at least 32 days before the elections. In all elections other than those for presidential electors, each ballot must contain the names of all potential candidates in that election other than those who have died or withdrawn, and no other names. Other listed ballot regulations include the required ordering of candidates on the ballot, permissible candidate names listed on the ballot, political party names, and the organization of offices listed on the full ballot.
(1) The county clerk and recorder of each county using paper ballots or electronically counted ballot cards shall provide printed ballots for every odd-numbered year, general, or congressional vacancy election. The official ballots shall be printed and in the possession of the county clerk and recorder no later than thirty-two days before every odd-numbered year, congressional vacancy, and general election.
(2) For all elections except those for presidential electors, every ballot shall contain the names of all candidates for offices to be voted for at that election whose nominations have been made and accepted, except those who have died or withdrawn, and the ballot shall contain no other names. When presidential electors are to be elected, their names shall not be printed on the ballot, but the names of the candidates of the respective political parties or political organizations for president and vice president of the United States shall be printed together in pairs under the title “presidential electors”. The pairs shall be arranged in the alphabetical order of the names of the candidates for president in the manner provided for in section 1-5-404. A vote for any pair of candidates is a vote for the duly nominated presidential electors of the political party or political organization by which the pair of candidates were named.
(3) The names of joint candidates of a political party or political organization for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor shall be printed in pairs. The pairs shall be arranged in the alphabetical order of the names of candidates for governor in the manner provided for in section 1-5-404. A vote for any pair of candidates for governor and lieutenant governor is a vote for each of the candidates who compose that pair.
(4) The name of each person nominated shall be printed or written upon the ballot in only one place. Each nominated person’s name may include one nickname, if the person regularly uses the nickname and the nickname does not include any part of a political party name. Opposite the name of each person nominated, including candidates for president and vice president and joint candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, shall be the name of the political party or political organization which nominated the candidate, expressed in not more than three words. Those three words may not promote the candidate or constitute a campaign promise.
(5) The positions on the ballot shall be arranged as follows: First, candidates for president and vice president of the United States; next, candidates for United States senator; next, congressional candidates; next, joint candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor; next, other state candidates; next, legislative candidates; next, district attorney candidates; next, candidates for the board of directors of the regional transportation district; next, other candidates for district offices greater than a county office; next, candidates for county commissioners; next, county clerk and recorder candidates; next, county treasurer candidates; next, county assessor candidates; next, county sheriff candidates; next county surveyor candidates; and next, county coroner candidates. When other offices are to be filled, the county clerk and recorder, in preparing the ballot, shall use substantially the form prescribed by this section, stating the proper designation of the office and placing the names of the candidates for the office under the name of the office. The ballot issues concerning the retention in office of justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of appeals, judges of the district court, and judges of the county court shall be placed on the ballot in that order and shall precede the placement of ballot issues concerning amendment of the state constitution or pertaining to political subdivisions.
Source: L. 92: Entire article R&RE, p. 708, § 8, effective January 1, 1993.L. 97: (1) amended, p. 184, § 1, effective August 6.L. 99: (1) amended, p. 774, § 47, effective May 20.L. 2012: (4) amended, (HB 12-1292), ch. 181, p. 682, § 20, effective May 17.
Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-6-402 as it existed prior to 1992.
Cross references: For provision requiring joint election of governor and lieutenant governor, see § 1-4-204; for requirement that write-in candidate file affidavit of intent, see § 1-4-1101; for ballots for primary elections, see § 1-5-402; for printing and distribution of ballots, see § 1-5-410; for the furnishing of cards of instruction to election judges, see § 1-5-504; for the manner of voting in precincts which use paper ballots, see § 1-7-304; for ballots defectively marked, see § 1-7-309.
- GENERAL CONSIDERATION.
Annotator’s note. The following annotations include cases decided under former provisions similar to this section.
All provisions for the form of ballots are mandatory in the sense that they impose a duty upon those who come within their terms. Allen v. Glynn, 17 Colo. 338, 29 P. 670 (1892).
It does not follow, however, that an election should be invalidated because of every departure on the part of public officers from the ballot arrangement requirements. Allen v. Glynn, 17 Colo. 338, 29 P. 670 (1892).
Rather, a ballot should be admitted if the spirit and intention of the requirements are not violated, even though the ballot is not literally in accordance with them; for, unless a statute declares that a strict compliance with its requirements by the voters is essential to have their ballots counted, courts will not undertake to disfranchise them if, in the attempted exercise of their right, there is manifestly an effort to comply in good faith with the statutory requirements. Kellogg v. Hickman, 12 Colo. 256, 21 P. 325 (1888); Young v. Simpson, 21 Colo. 460, 42 P. 666 (1895); Nicholls v. Barrick, 27 Colo. 432, 62 P. 202 (1900).
- USE OF PAPER BALLOTS.
The legislative intent in prescribing the form, size, color of paper, etc., of ballots to be used by voters is to guard the secrecy of the ballot and secure to the voter the right of suffrage, free of restraint. Kellogg v. Hickman, 12 Colo. 256, 21 P. 325 (1888).
Thus, a ballot is not illegal merely because printed differently. After a ballot has been voted, received, and counted, courts are not authorized, in the absence of constitutional restrictions as to the manner of exercising the right of suffrage, in declaring such ballot illegal merely because printed on paper of different quality, color, or dimension from that prescribed. Kellogg v. Hickman, 12 Colo. 256, 21 P. 325 (1888).
Furthermore, objection to irregularities in printing of ballots is too late after the vote. When public officers are entrusted with the preparation of ballots and ample provision is made for the correction of errors before an election, it is too late after they have been voted, as a general rule, to interpose objections to the ballots for mere irregularities in the printing thereof. Allen v. Glynn, 17 Colo. 338, 29 P. 670 (1892).
And it cannot be held that a printer may not recover because of a disregard of the prescribed ballot arrangement, or for a supposed nonobservance of the directions of the clerk, where, as matter of fact, the ballot list was published in the form contemplated, or at least permitted, by statutory requirements. Bd. of Comm’rs v. Frederick, 50 Colo. 464, 115 P. 514 (1911).
But opposing candidate with notice of emblem mistake cannot lie by and allow voters to be misled. If the county clerk makes a mistake in designating a candidate on the ballot as the nominee of a political party represented by an emblem, and the opposing candidate having notice of such mistake in time to have the mistake corrected, he will not be permitted to lie by and allow voters to be misled thereby and afterwards take advantage of such defect to defeat the expressed will of a majority of the voters. Allen v. Glynn, 17 Colo. 338, 29 P. 670 (1892); Dickinson v. Freed, 25 Colo. 302, 55 P. 812 (1898).
III. NAME TO BE PRINTED IN ONE PLACE.
The ballot arrangement requirements do not attempt to restrict the right of selecting an emblem to any particular kind, or class, of political parties. Schafer v. Whipple, 25 Colo. 400, 55 P. 180 (1898).
But separate column for political designations required. While the ballot arrangement requirements do not in specific terms provide for a separate column for political designations, a fair interpretation or construction thereof so requires, since opposite the name of each candidate must be added the party name, and this, in some cases at least, might not be done without double columns. Bd. of Comm’rs v. Frederick, 50 Colo. 464, 115 P. 514 (1911).
- BALLOTS TO ALLOW CROSS MARKS.
Voter must express his choice by making an “X” opposite name of candidate. Riley v. Trainor, 57 Colo. 155, 140 P. 469 (1914).
- SPACES FOR WRITE-INS.
Voters must make cross mark when they write in more than one name. Riley v. Trainor, 57 Colo. 155, 140 P. 469 (1914).
- Ballot Access
- Ballot Form & Content Requirements
- Election Day
- Petitions for Nomination
1. Definition for United States
Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
2. Definition for Political party
Any group of registered electors who, by petition or assembly, nominate candidates for the official general election ballot. “Political party” includes affiliated party organizations at the state, county, and election district levels, and all such affiliates are considered to be a single entity for the purposes of this article, except as otherwise provided in section 7. Section 2(13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
3. Definition for Political subdivision
A governing subdivision of the state, including counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
4. Definition for Political organization
Any group of registered electors who, by petition for nomination of an unaffiliated candidate as provided in section 1-4-802, places upon the official general election ballot nominees for public office. C.R.S. § 1-1-104.
Alternate Meaning for Art. 45:
A political organization defined in section 527 (e) (1) of the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, as amended, that is engaged in influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and that is exempt, or intends to seek any exemption, from taxation pursuant to section 527 of the internal revenue code. “Political organization” shall not be construed to have the same meaning as “political organization” as defined in section 1-1-104 (24) for purposes of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”, articles 1 to 13 of this title.
C.R.S. § 1-45-103
5. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
6. Definition for Ballot
(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;
(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or
(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.
(2) “Covered voter” means:
(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or
(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.
C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
7. Definition for Person
Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
8. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
9. Definition for Candidate
Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.