1994: The Green Party of Colorado did not qualify for statewide ballot status in November 1994. But it did qualify for Qualified Political Organization status.
In 1994, the criteria to qualify for statewide ballot status (‘major party status’) in Colorado was to receive 10% for Governor.
Phil Hufford received 1.5% and 16,908 votes for Governor. The 1.5% was not sufficient for the Green Party of Colorado to achieve statewide ballot status.
However, the Green Party of Colorado did receive “Qualified Political Organization” status. This was achieved by qualifying the Hufford gubernatorial campaign under rules for independent candidates, which included submitting the required 1,000 valid petition signers for Hufford’s candidacy (over 2,200 were gathered), and fulfilling various administrative requirements.
By qualifying for Qualified Political Organization status, it also became possible to register as a Green in Colorado.
1998: The Green Party of Colorado qualified for statewide ballot status in July 1998.
In 1998, the Colorado state legislature changed the criteria for the statewide ballot status. The 10% for governor requirement still remained in order to attain ‘major party’ status.
But a new ‘minor party’ status category was also created. To become a minor party, a party would need at least 1,000 registered voters as members or gather 10,000 petition signers on behalf of the party.
A minor party could have statewide ballot status, just like a major party. But major parties conduct primaries and run caucuses in every county in the state, while minor parties only nominate candidates by convention.
The Green Party of Colorado qualified via the voter registration method. At the time of the law’s passing, April 13th, 1998, the Green Party of Colorado had 936 registrants. By June 30th — the law’s effective date — Colorado Green registration had grown to 1,226. As a result of this growth, the Green Party of Colorado qualified for statewide ballot status as of the date of the law taking effect.
Since 1998, the number of Green Party registrants has remained above the 1,000 registration threshold and as a result, the Green Party of Colorado has retained its ballot status ever since. As of June 2010, the number of registered Green voters in the state was over 4,200.
For more information: see the Green Party of Colorado’s own 1998 ballot qualification report.