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February 26, 2018 02:11 PM UTC

The Petition Race for Second Place

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Republican Walker Stapleton (left) and Democrat Michael Johnston.

Last week two candidates for Governor announced that they had submitted petitions for ballot access to the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) office. Democrat Mike Johnston was the first to push his signatures across the finish line on Wednesday, with Republican Walker Stapleton following on Friday. Campaigns on both sides of the aisle are now under significant pressure to submit their own petition signatures; the longer you wait to turn in petitions, the more trouble you will likely have in qualifying for the ballot.

The SOS office still needs to check the signatures submitted by Johnston and Stapleton, so we won’t know for a week or two whether either candidate successfully met the 10,500 signature threshold (1,500 must come from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts). What we do know is that other candidates seeking to make the Primary ballot through the petition process are already at a disadvantage.

Valid signatures collected by a candidate cannot be counted twice, so anybody whose name gets counted on petitions for Johnston or Stapleton cannot be used toward the 10,500 threshold for other candidates — no matter when the signatures were collected. For example, registered Republicans who signed a petition for Stapleton to gain ballot access can no longer be counted toward the petition totals of other Republican candidates, such as Victor Mitchell or Mitt Romney’s Nephew. To put it another way, Mitchell and friends must now submit valid signatures from 10,500 registered Republicans who were not already on Stapleton’s list. Gubernatorial candidates Jared Polis and Donna Lynne face the same challenge on the Democratic side (although Polis will also likely participate in the caucus/assembly process, giving him another option for ballot access).

Trouble with petition signatures have been major issues for statewide campaigns (particularly Republicans) in recent years. During the 2016 U.S. Senate race, Republicans Jon Keyser and Ryan Frazier nearly failed to make the ballot because of a dearth of valid signatures compounded by the inability to double-count voters who had already signed petitions for Republican Jack Graham. Both Keyser and Frazier ultimately got their names on the Primary ballot after protracted legal challenges, but the uncertainty surrounding both campaigns torpedoed fundraising and organizing efforts and effectively crippled their chances of winning the June Primary. In 2006, Republican Marc Holtzman failed to make the ballot in the Republican gubernatorial primary, which left an open road for Bob Beauprez to become the GOP nominee.

The deadline to submit petitions to the SOS for ballot access is March 20.

Comments

5 thoughts on “The Petition Race for Second Place

  1. Yo, Alva, Coffman ended her petition bid — she won’t be turning in signatures.

    That said, if “Mr. Jackass Moderatus” signed two, or more, petitions, I’m not sure, but I don’t think the fool’s signature can be counted for either (or any)? 

    If Jackass signs multiple petitions, he invalidates himself entirely?  I don’t believe it’s a situation of the first time a name is counted, that’s where it counts?

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