January 31, 2014 •
Court of Appeals Finds Colorado Contribution Limits Unconstitutional
On January 15 the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit declared certain Colorado campaign contribution limits unconstitutional. State law requires major party candidates to appear on a primary ballot even if they are running unopposed; they are then permitted to accept contributions up to the statutory limit for each of the primary and general elections. Similarly, minor party or write-in candidates who appear on the primary election ballot may accept contributions for both the primary and general elections.
Unaffiliated, minor party, or write-in candidates who do not appear on a primary election ballot, however, may only accept contributions for the general election.
Under the recent ruling, contribution limits based on statutory classification violate the right to equal protection for individuals wishing to contribute to write-ins, unaffiliated candidates, and minor party candidates when each candidate runs unopposed for the nomination.
The Secretary of State has not yet addressed the court ruling or made any new changes to existing contribution limits.
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