Volunteers and Leaders from the Colorado Forward Party joined together on Thursday, January 4th, 2024 to submit their petition signatures to become an officially recognized minor party in the state of Colorado!
After over a year of work coordinating with the Secretary of State's office, planning and executing events, and bringing together Forward volunteers across the state, the Colorado Forward Party has officially turned in all of their gathered signatures for minor party status. The Secretary of State's office requires 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters in Colorado to be officially recognized as a party. The Colorado Forward Party turned in roughly 17,000 signatures with a roughly 70% validation rate calculated from our data and analysis.
The Colorado Forward Party met with the Secretary of State's office in November of 2022 to gather requirements around becoming a minor party. After months of research and strategic planning, becoming a minor party in the state was quickly identified as one of our first big hurdles and as a strategically critical path item to effectively compete in state and local elections, hold Colorado Forward Party state conventions and primaries, and allow Coloradans to register and affiliate with the party.
The state leadership team at the time had several meetings and follow-up discussions to ensure that petition gathering was done concisely and in alignment with state requirements. After the expectations were clear, the state leadership proceeded to train volunteers under this guidance and begin executing on signature gathering.
The signature-gathering efforts in the first half of 2023 were spearheaded by one of our incredible volunteers, Dennis Reda. Under Dennis' phenomenal leadership, the Colorado Forward Party experimented with different signature-gathering techniques and locations. Leveraging data and anecdotal evidence, we began to coalesce around the more effective venues and messaging strategies for the party. Throughout this in-depth learning process and Dennis' fearless leadership, the party was able to start out strong and gather over 1,000 signatures.
The petitioning torch was passed off to Rich Herrmann, the newly elected Chair of the Colorado Forward Party Executive Committee around May of 2022. Rich expanded upon the lessons and strategies that Dennis developed and built a new initiative, called the Circle of 100, to "crowdsource" our petitioning efforts across the state with disparate volunteers. We were able to almost double the number of signatures we had gathered just through the Circle of 100 initiative alone!
As the year started coming to a close, Rich and the EC identified shortcomings in our goals for gathering and turning in our signatures. Proactively moving ahead, Rich worked with the national team at the Forward Party in tandem with other organizations to align on a mutually beneficial agreement to solicit outside help in our signature-gathering efforts. While the Colorado Forward Party volunteers continued to table events and go to parks and other public spaces to gather petition signatures, Rich and the national team organized additional petitioning efforts.
Through our combined efforts, we were able to gather roughly 17,000 signatures to turn into the Secretary of State's office - 70% above the required amount. We intended to turn in significantly more signatures under the expectation that some signatures would not be considered valid.
The Secretary of State's office will now tally up all of the signatures from petitions that the Colorado Forward Party submitted. They will hand the petitions off to a team in Pueblo who will handle validating each signature line-by-line. The Secretary of State's office will issue a press release if enough signatures are validated and will announce our official recognition as a minor party. The Colorado Forward Party will show up on voter registration as a political party that Colorado voters may choose to affiliate with and the state party will be able to host conventions, primaries, and field Forward candidates in Colorado (and Federal eventually) elections.
Additionally, to maintain our status as a minor party in the state, we must have at least 1,000 registered voters in Colorado affiliated with the Forward Party. Here's where you can help! We'll follow up to let everyone know when the announcement is made and people are able to affiliate with the Forward Party. At that point, you can register with Colorado Forward and help build a new kind of politics in our beautiful state!
We recommend that you wait to change your voter registration status until March 2024 so that you can participate in either of the major party's primary.
Don't worry, we'll send you a reminder in March to change affiliations as well!
Want to hear about the Secretary of State's announcement immediately? You can sign up for their mailing list and receive notifications from the Secretary of State's office here.