Colorado ballot has 16 presidential candidates

Most in the nation; Oklahoma has fewest with 2

For those who are new to Colorado, this year’s ballot may come as a surprise.

When it comes to presidential candidates, the Centennial State believes in giving voters a choice.

Colorado leads the nation in the number of presidential candidates on the ballot with 16.

In addition to a Republican and Democrat, Colorado’s ballot includes five Socialist parties, including the Peace and Freedom Party and four with “Socialist” in their names, and a white supremacist party, American Third Position.

Actress/comedienne Roseanne Barr has gained some press for the Peace and Freedom Party. Barr is running with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who became famous — or infamous, depending on one’s persuasion — after camping outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch in 2005.

The Objectivist Party, founded in 2008 to promote the ideas of Ayn Rand — author of Atlas Shrugged, which has been made into two movies — made the ballot with Tom Stevens, who also ran in 2008.

Commonly known third parties such as the Libertarian, led by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and the Green, led by physician Jill Stein, are also present. Virgil Goode, a former Democrat-turned independent-turned Republican congressman from Virginia, is running as the American Constitution Party candidate.

The Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties gained ballot access in 48, 39 and 27 states, respectively, not counting write-in access in some states. The left-wing Justice Party was formed in November of last year and made the ballot in 16 states with founder Rocky Anderson, the former Democrat who served as mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000 to 2008.

Johnson, Stein, Goode and Anderson participated in a third-party presidential debate at the Hilton Chicago hosted by former TV and radio talk show host Larry King on Tuesday.

Andrew Cole, a spokesman for the Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, said Colorado is among the easiest states to gain ballot access for a presidential election.

Presidential candidates only need to submit a form and pay $500 to gain ballot access in Colorado, Cole said. It’s been that way for a long time, but the fee will increase to $1,000 in 2016, he said.

Oklahoma is the toughest state to gain ballot access as a third party presidential candidate, and has only Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on its ballot.

Other states where it is fairly easy to gain ballot access include Florida, which has 12 candidates; Louisiana, which has 11; and New Jersey, 10.

West Virginia only has five candidates on its ballot, but leads the nation with 22 officially recognized write-in candidates, including Santa Claus.