Much has been made about this year’s election featuring two polarizing presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The situation has fueled talk about a rise in enthusiasm for third-party candidates Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Here in Colorado, voters will have a lot more choices than that. As in more than a 20, including at least three from Colorado.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, about 25 candidates are on the ballot for president this year representing obscure political parties such as the Nutrition Party (Platform: “Make America Healthy Again”) and the Prohibition Party. (No booze, no tobacco, no mind-altering, behavior-modifying, non-medicinal drugs.) Others include the American Delta Party, the Veterans Party of America, Socialist Workers Party, the Socialism and Liberation Party, the Nonviolent Resistance/Pacifist Party, and even the Independent People of Colorado.
What’s more, the list isn’t even finalized.
Major party candidates have until Sept. 9 to officially get their names on the ballots mailed to every active registered voter in Colorado before the Nov. 8 election. A few so far are write-in candidates, including one vice-presidential candidate, Eric “Rick” Seiley, who lives in Colorado and is running as a Republican.
America’s Party candidate Tom Hoefling of Iowa, who pitches himself as a candidate for “conservatives and Christians who refuse to support Donald Trump” is on the ballot in Colorado.
As The Colorado Independent reported Friday, at least one GOP lawmaker in Colorado, Gordon Klingenschmitt, is looking at Hoefling as a choice this year.
Colorado is the first state to put independent candidate Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer and House GOP official who is running as an anti-Trump conservative, on a ballot.
Frank Atwood and Blake Huber, who are running for president and vice-president on the Approval Voting ticket this year, are both from Colorado. You might have seen them driving around or parked at Colorado political events in their yellow vehicle with “Approval Voting” written all over it. Approval Voting is a system in which voters can cast ballots for as many candidates as they like and the one with the most support wins. Supporters such as Atwood say it reduces spoilers and sabotage by third-party candidates.
So, is it out of the ordinary to have such a long list of presidential contenders here?
Not really, says Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels. In 2012, the year Democrat Barack Obama beat Republican Mitt Romney, the two battled it out among 15 other choices for president on Colorado’s ballot.
Why the long ballot? Turns out it’s pretty easy here to get on. All you have to do is file some paperwork and pay $1,000. That’s a much lower hurdle than in other states.
And, hey, there’s still time to file.
*This post has been updated. And, well, might be again as more people file.
[Photo credit: onnola via Creative Commones on Flickr]