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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Conduct of Elections

1-7-114. Write-in votes

Overview of Statute

Electors may cast a write-in vote for a candidate who has filed an affidavit of intent for a write-in candidacy. The election judges will maintain a list of eligible write-in candidates while serving at the polls, but this list may not be posted or taken into a voting booth. To cast a vote, the elector must write a reasonably correct spelling of the individual’s name, including either a name, initial, or nickname as a first name and the individual’s last name. Ballots in which an elector both marks a listed candidate and writes in a candidate will not be counted for either candidate. To decide the sufficiency of a write-in ballot, election officials must determine that an elector’s intention are clearly apparent. Likewise, a write-in candidate must also meet the qualifications for the office in order for the vote to be counted.

Statute

(1) Eligible electors may cast a write-in vote for a candidate who has filed an affidavit of intent of write-in candidacy pursuant to section 1-4-1101 by writing the name of the person in the blank space provided for write-in candidates on the ballot. Each write-in vote may include a reasonably correct spelling of a given name, an initial or nickname, or both a given name and an initial or nickname, and shall include the last name of the person for whom the vote is intended. Whenever write-in votes are cast, they shall be counted only when the intention of the elector is clearly apparent.

(2) A vote for a write-in candidate shall not be counted unless that candidate is qualified to hold the office for which the elector’s vote was cast.

(3) If the elector has cast more votes for an office than he or she is lawfully entitled to cast, by voting for both a candidate appearing on the ballot and a valid write-in candidate, neither of the votes for the office shall be counted.

(4) (a) The designated election official shall make a list of eligible write-in candidates and provide the list to the election judges. The order of the write-in candidates on such list may be determined by the time of filing the affidavit pursuant to section 1-4-1101.

(b) Except as may be required to accommodate a person with a disability, election judges shall not verbally comment on write-in candidates. Upon request of an eligible elector, an election judge may display to the requesting elector the list of eligible write-in candidates provided to the judges by the designated election official. The list shall not be posted nor may the list be taken into a voting booth.

 

Source: L. 92: Entire article R&RE, p. 737, § 9, effective January 1, 1993.L. 93: (1) amended, p. 1419, § 70, effective July 1.L. 96: (4) added, p. 1746, § 41, effective July 1.

 

Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § § 1-7-309 (3) and 1-7-507 (3) as they existed prior to 1992. For a detailed comparison, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.

Annotation: April 22, 2016 3:36 pm

Curry v. Buescher, Case No. 10CV8191, Denver District Court (Nov. 5, 2010) Resolved statutory ambiguity regarding valid votes in the case of write-in candidates. Section 1-7-304(1), C.R.S. required voters to mark the target area next to the name of the candidate. Section 1-7-114(1), C.R.S., simply required voters to write the name of a write-in candidate on the appropriate line, and was silent with respect to whether the voter needed to fill the target area. This case prompted Secretary Buescher to issue attached Order 10-02, effectively requiring the affected jurisdictions to review all ballots with undervotes in the contest to determine whether the candidate’s name was written in.

Definition [Designated election official]

The secretary of state, a county clerk and recorder, or other election official as provided by article XXI of the state constitution. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.

Definition [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.

Definition [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.

Definition [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.

Definition [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.