Clips From the Clerk

Presidential Primary

Presidential Primaries are ways the political parties select their nominees for president.  Given the high level of public interest, “front-loading” means the presidential primary is held early in the year.

The name of the presidential candidates will be on the ballot.

  • We are actually voting for delegates to the national conventions.
  • Vice president is not on the ballot.

Both major political parties officially nominate their candidate for president at their national conventions.  Each of theses conventions is made up of delegates selected in accordance with the party’s bylaws.

The results of the presidential primaries (and caucuses) bind many of these delegates to vote for a particular candidate.  Colorado’s delegates will be bound to the winners of each party’s primary.

Caucus vs. Primary

  • Some states have primaries to elect delegates to the national convention.
    • Primaries are direct elections run by the county clerks and the results are used to determine delegates
  • Some states have a caucus that elects delegates to the national party convention.
    • Caucuses are people from the same party gathering to elect delegates to a convention
    • Caucuses can also be people going to the places set up by political parties and voting for candidates that determine the delegates

Note:  Colorado’s political parties will still hold caucuses for other statewide and county offices.

Colorado held its last presidential primary in 2000.  The election was abandoned because of cost, in favor of party caucuses, which typically draw far fewer eligible voters.

The State estimates it will spend 6.26 million dollars (based on the reimbursements submitted for the 2018 Primary Election).

How do candidates get on the ballot?

  • Each candidate must file a petition with 5000 signatures OR pay a $500 fee in order to appear on the ballot.
  • This must be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.

When will we know the candidates?

  • December 9th is the last day for a candidate to submit

Statement of Intent and filing fee to the Secretary of State.

  • A candidate may also petition onto the ballot and it is due that day.  (Circulation can begin on November 4th.)
  • Candidates can also file as a write-in by December 27th.  ($500 filing fee.)
  • Candidates can withdraw by December 27th.

Our office has already filed an Election Plan with the Secretary of State for the 2020 Presidential Primary on March 3, 2020.  This plan was due the day prior to our Coordinated Election on November 5, 2019, . . . to give you some idea of the non-stop processes in elections.