Colorado’s new world ballot order

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.

Democrat Alice Madden
Democrat Alice Madden
Republican Heidi Ganahl.
Republican Heidi Ganahl

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.

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Ghosts of Colorado caucuses past, from nuns to a naked boy

The year was 2008 and interest in Colorado’s quirky and confusing precinct caucus system reached a zenith thanks to the presidential race, especially on the Democratic side.

Precinct co-chair Jamie Laurie counts votes for Hillary Clinton at one of 15 causes at East High School on Feb. 5, 2008. Barack Obama's supporters outnumbered Clinton supporters 1,033 to 394 in the 15 precincts. (Rocky Mountain News/
Fifteen Democratic caucuses were held at East High School on Feb. 5, 2008. Barack Obama’s supporters outnumbered Hillary Clinton supporters 1,033 to 394 in the 15 precincts. (Rocky Mountain News/Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

As a  political reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, I asked a variety of politicos — from then-City Auditor Dennis Gallagher to U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard to former First Lady Wilma Webb — about their precinct caucus experiences.

With Colorado Republicans and Democrats holding their precinct caucuses tonight, here’s that 2008 story:

Ah, there’s nothing like memories of caucuses past

By Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News

The famed astronaut. The naked boy. The chocolate frosting. And don’t forget the nuns and the no-shows.

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Former House colleagues praise Bill Berens; funeral services set for Saturday

Broomfield Mayor Bill Berens poses for a photo in the city council chambers. (The Denver Post)
Broomfield Mayor Bill Berens poses for a photo in the city council chambers. (The Denver Post)

The men and women who served with Republican Bill Berens in the state House on Friday praised the lawmaker for his devotion to the city of Broomfield and daring to speak his mind to make Colorado a better place.

“Bill Berens was a dapper, friendly soul,” said Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, who was chairwoman of the House Local Government Committee when Berens was a member.

“I recall that many of his contributions to our discussions began with ‘When I was mayor of Broomfield, we … ,’  or ‘In Broomfield, we ….’ He was very proud of his city and the role he had played in its progress,” she said.  “I’ll miss him at United Power legislative lunches where we would reminisce about ‘the good old days.’ May he rest in peace.”

Berens died Monday at the age of 66 after battling cancer for seven months. His funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Nativity of  Our Lord Catholic Church in Broomfield.

The Broomfield Enterprise and The Denver Post chronicled the life of Berens, a civil engineer who served four terms as Broomfield mayor and one term in the House before being swept out of office in the Democratic tidal wave of 2006.

“Rep. Berens and I opposed one another in two House races,” said Rep. Dianne Primavera, a Democrat. “He defeated me in 2004. I defeated him in 2006. Despite being competitors, he and I respected one another and had a cordial relationship.  He even offered several times to teach me to play golf! Ironically, my story has been one of a cancer survivor. Sadly, he had a different outcome with his illness. I’m still in shock at his passing.”