1-4-101. Primary elections – when – nominations – expenses
Overview of Statute
Primary elections will occur the last Tuesday of June in even-numbered years. With limited exceptions, only major political parties are entitled to make nominations in a primary. Parties that are entitled to participate in the primary process receive their own party ballot. Major party nominations for United States senator, member of the United States House, and all elective state, district and county officers (other than candidates for lieutenant governor made after January 1, 2001) and for the Colorado general assembly must be determined through the primary process. Primary elections must be conducted in the same manner as general elections, and must be paid for by either the county or the state in the same manner as general elections.
This law was intended to, and succeeded in, taking control of nominations from political leadership, by protecting primary elections with all the safeguards of general elections and ensuring the persons chosen by the voters make it to the general election ballot.
 C.R.S. § 1-1-104(22): Definition of “major political parties”
(1) Except as provided in section 1-4-104.5, a primary election shall be held on the last Tuesday in June of even-numbered years to nominate candidates of political parties to be voted for at the succeeding general election. Except as provided by section 1-4-1304 (1.5), only a major political party, as defined in section 1-1-104 (22), is entitled to nominate candidates in a primary election.
(2) Each political party that is entitled to participate in the primary election shall have a separate party ballot. The primary election of all political parties shall be held at the same time and shall be conducted by the same election officials.
(3) All nominations by major political parties for candidates for United States senator, representative in congress, all elective state, district, and county officers, and members of the general assembly shall be made by primary elections; except that, for general elections occurring after January 1, 2001, nominations by major political parties for candidates for lieutenant governor shall not be made by primary elections and shall be made pursuant to section 1-4-502 (3). Neither the secretary of state nor any county clerk and recorder shall place on the official general election ballot the name of any person as a candidate of any major political party who has not been nominated in accordance with the provisions of this article, or who has not been affiliated with the major political party for the period of time required by section 1-4-601, or who does not meet residency requirements for the office, if any. The information found on the voter registration record of the county of current or previous residence of the person seeking to be placed on the ballot is admissible as prima facie evidence of compliance with this article.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in this code, all primary elections shall be conducted in the same manner as general elections insofar as the general election provisions are applicable, and the election officers for primary elections have the same powers and shall perform the same duties as those provided by law for general elections.
(5) All expenses incurred in the preparation or conduct of the primary election shall be paid out of the treasury of the county or state, as the case may be, in the same manner as for general elections.
Source: L. 80: Entire article R&RE, p. 321, § 1, effective January 1, 1981.L. 81: (1) amended, p. 307, § 3, effective January 1, 1982.L. 83: (3) amended, p. 350, § 9, effective July 1.L. 85: (1) amended, p. 248, § 4, effective July 1.L. 86: (3) amended, p. 396, § 6, effective April 17.L. 88: (3) amended, p. 293, § 1, effective May 29.L. 89: (3) amended, p. 314, § 2, effective April 12.L. 91: (3) amended, p. 620, § 31, effective May 1.L. 92: Entire part amended, p. 672, § 4, effective January 1, 1993.L. 98: (1) to (3) amended, p. 256, § 4, effective April 13.L. 99: (3) amended, p. 159, § 7, effective August 4.L. 2000: (3) amended, p. 2027, § 1, effective August 2.L. 2003: (1) and (2) amended, p. 1309, § 4, effective April 22.L. 2009: (1) amended,(HB 09-1015), ch. 259, p. 1183, § 1, effective August 5.L. 2010: (3) amended, (HB 10-1271), ch. 324, p. 1501, § 1, effective May 27.L. 2011: (1) amended, (SB 11-189), ch. 243, p. 1062, § 3, effective May 27.L. 2013: (1) and (2) amended, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 703, § 28, effective May 10.
Cross references: For school elections, see articles 30, 31, and 42 of title 22; for elections for removal of county seats, see article 8 of title 30; for municipal elections, see article 10 of title 31; for special district elections, see part 8 of article 1 of title 32; for exemption of certain statutory proceedings from the rules of civil procedure, see C.R.C.P. 81; for recall from office, see article XXI of the state constitution; for recall of state and county officers, see part 1 of article 12 of this title; for recall of municipal officers, see part 5 of article 4 of title 31; for recall of directors of special districts, see § § 32-1-906, 32-1-907.
Editor’s note: Articles 1 to 13 were repealed and reenacted in 1980. This article was numbered as articles 10 and 11 of chapter 49, C.R.S. 1963. For additional historical information concerning the repeal and reenactment of articles 1 to 13 of this title in 1980, see the editor’s note immediately following the title heading for this title.
Cross references: For election offenses relating to access to ballot by candidates, see part 4 of article 13 of this title.
Law reviews: For article, “Constitutional Law”, which discusses a Tenth Circuit decision dealing with minor party ballot access, see 61 Den. L.J. 217 (1984); for article, “Constitutional Law”, which discusses a Tenth Circuit decision dealing with minor party ballot access, see 62 Den. U. L. Rev. 101 (1985).
Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-14-202 as it existed prior to 1980.
Cross references: In 2013, subsections (1) and (2) were amended by the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act”. For the short title and the legislative declaration, see sections 1 and 2 of chapter 185, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.
The primary election law was intended to and did take from political bosses the right to control in the nominating of candidates for office; that it had surrounded the primary election with all the safeguards provided for general elections; and that the persons who are chosen by the voters to represent them, in matters preliminary to nominations, are entitled to hold the position for which they have been so chosen during the term prescribed by law. People ex rel. Vick Roy v. Republican State Cent. Comm., 75 Colo. 312, 226 P. 656 (1924) (concurring opinion) (decided under former law).
Compliance with residence requirement can be proven by means other than the voter registration page. Romero v. Sandoval, 685 P.2d 772 (Colo. 1984).
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 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
8. 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.
Case Name: Romero v. Sandoval
Citation: 685 P.2d 772 (Colo. 1984)
Case Summary: Holding that Secretary of State can look beyond voter registration page to determine residency; statute providing qualifications for public office in the state applies to candidates for all public offices; qualifications must be met “on or before” date that term of office begins; by meeting constitutional requirement of residency 12 months prior to election, candidate automatically satisfies the statutory requirement that qualifications be met “on or before” the date the term begins; and the statute does not conflict with constitutional requirement that, for office of state representative or senator, person must meet residency requirement prior to election.
Case Name: People ex rel. Vick Roy v. Republican State Cent. Comm.
Citation: 226 P. 656 (Colo. 1924)
Case Summary: Holding that district court has jurisdiction to order relator's recognition as a member of the state central committee.
Case Name: Riddle v. Hickenlooper
Citation: 742 F.3d 922 (10th Cir. 2014)
Federal Circuit Court: 10th Circuit Court
Case Summary: Holding that disfavored contributors to campaign of unaffiliated write-in candidate were similarly situated to favored contributors supporting her Republican and Democratic opponents; classification in statute violated the fundamental right to contribute as form of political expression; and statutory classification also violated the right to equal protection.