Candidates face long and winding road
Candidates seeking to win the favor of county voters had better be ready for a long trek. These are the steps:
1. Candidates were not nominated during last night’s caucuses, but they had the opportunity to discuss their ideas with voters at the neighborhood political meetings. At precinct caucuses, people are chosen to serve as delegates to next week’s county party assemblies. The Democrats meet the evening of April 23 and the Republicans meet the following afternoon, April 24. Both assemblies will be held at the Eagle County Building in Eagle.
Delegates to the county assembly can place candidates’ names on the primary ballots. There are now 29 precincts in Eagle County.
2. To be a candidate for a countywide office, candidates generally try to gain access to the primary ballot. Primary races are held in August.
There are two ways candidates can accomplish this. One is by the assembly process.
Candidates can – but don’t have to – have someone nominate them at the assembly. If the candidate receives at least 30 percent of the vote at the assembly, his or her name will appear on the primary ballot. If any candidate receives more 70 percent, any opponents will not get their name on the primary ballot through the assembly process.
Any candidate who receives between 10 percent and 29 percent at the assembly will not appear on the primary ballot unless they choose to circulate petitions and gather voters’ signatures. If a candidate receives less than 10 percent at the assembly, they cannot gather signatures to get on the ballot. They are out of the race.
Now, if someone chooses not to participate in the assembly process, they can bypass the assembly and use petitions to get their names onto the primary ballot. A candidate does not have to be affiliated with a major political party to do this.
The winner of the primary election for the Democratic party will face the winner of the primary election for the Republican party, as well as any independents who made the ballot, in November’s general election.
3. There are no caucus ballots for candidates. The purpose of caucuses is to elect precinct committee members and delegates to county assemblies. People interested in becoming election judges can also sign up for this service at the caucuses.
4. Candidates cannot petition onto the assembly ballot. They can petition onto the primary ballot. The only way to participate in the assembly process as a candidate is to be nominated at the assembly and then have the delegates in attendance cast their votes.
5. If the candidate wants to petition onto the ballot, each race requires a different number of signatures from registered voters. For example, if Democratic Commissioner Michael Gallagher wants to petition onto the primary ballot in his re-election campaign, he’d have to collect 73 signatures. That’s based on the number of Democratic voters who cast ballots in the last primary election contested for that seat.