My name is Madeline Gallagher, I am a senior at Fountain Valley School of Colorado. I am curious about why the names on the ballot are in their particular order.
Madeline isn’t the only person to ask why Hillary Clinton’s name is ahead of Donald Trump’s in the list of candidates for president on Colorado’s ballot — or why their names are before Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
Or why U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s name comes before his Republican challenger, Darryl Glenn, but in the 6th Congressional District, the incumbent, Republican Mike Coffman, is listed after his Democratic challenger, Morgan Carroll.
My government teacher was unable to answer, but, by asking I piqued his curiosity and my fellow classmates’ as well. My research has not lead me to an answer, but it did lead me to the Colorado Secretary of State website.
Madeline, the answer has to do with the alphabet and luck. I learned about this system when a political consultant last month asked about the statewide race for the University of Colorado Board of Regents. Was there a reason Democrat Alice Madden’s name was ahead of Republican challenger Heidi Ganahl’s? When I asked ballot access manager Joel Albin, I found out yes, there was a reason. Madden’s name was drawn first.
In the general election, for every race but president a drawing is held to determine which name goes first on the ballot, but that drawing happens in tiers.
For example, in the U.S. Senate race, a drawing was held for the major party candidates, and Bennet’s name was drawn before Glenn’s.
Then came the drawing for the minor party candidates in the race. Libertarian Lily Tang Williams’ name is before Green Party candidate Arn Menconi’s on the ballot.
A third drawing was for the unaffiliated and non-partisan Senate candidates, who appear on the ballot in this order: Bill Hammons, Dan Chapin and Paul Noel Fiorino.
The presidential race also uses the tier system, but there is no drawing. The names are listed in alphabetical order within each tier. That’s why Clinton is before Trump.
I am aware that the order does matter and in the interest of being an informed citizen and being able to inform others, I sincerely hope to hear back from you. Thank you for your work and dedication to our beautiful state. Madeline Gallagher