On May 17, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB 12-1292. It is an omnibus election law bill. It moves the deadline for an independent presidential candidate, or the presidential nominee of an unqualified party, from June 4 to August 8. This is a major improvement. Before this bill passed, Colorado had the nation’s earliest independent presidential deadline. The bill takes effect immediately.
Now, the earliest independent presidential petition deadline in the nation is on June 14. Two states use that deadline, North Carolina and Vermont. Lawsuits are pending against the deadlines of both states, although the North Carolina lawsuit concerns the deadline for newly-qualifying parties, not the independent presidential deadline.
The bill also raises the filing fee for independent presidential candidates from $500 to $1,000, effective 2016. Colorado had the nation’s most crowded presidential general election ballot in history in 2008. Sixteen candidates qualified. The presidential nominees of qualified parties do not need to pay a filing fee. Colorado’s qualified parties include the Republican, Democratic, Constitution, Green, Libertarian, and Americans Elect Parties.