By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4)– “I don’t know, never heard of him,” seemed to be the phrase of the day as we toted the ballot around downtown. This year’s list of legitimate presidential candidates in Colorado is an abundance of democracy.

The Nonviolent Resistance/Pacifists, the American Solidarity Party, the Nutrition Party; it’s a full slate. There are 22 candidates for president on the ballot and that doesn’t count the eligible write-ins.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

It turns out, it’s very easy to get on the ballot in Colorado. The major parties put their candidates in, but if you’re from say, the Prohibition Party, you can either collect 5,000 unique signatures, or pay $1,000 and you’re on.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“These aren’t real options,” said one voter about some of the little heard of candidates. “In order to have real options you actually have to build up from the ground up.”

True enough, but it is a democracy.

“It’s good that was have a lot of different ideas because we’ve had a lot of the same for such a long time,” said another voter.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Colorado only recently increased that $1,000 from $500. That’s what it costs in Louisiana, but other than that, no state is easier.

This is the largest presidential ballot in recent memory messaged Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Wayne Williams. The Secretary is considering asking the Legislature next session to make it more difficult after some local clerks have expressed exasperation.

Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane doesn’t mind the fattened calf of ballots but said the longer the ballot, the more the fatigue when they get around to the judges or issues.

CBS4's Alan Gionet interviews Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Alan Gionet interviews Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane (credit: CBS)

“Usually people are really excited about the contests at the beginning and then by this point they’re like wow, this is a lot.”

It’s even easier for write-in candidates. You have only to submit an affidavit early enough to be legitimate. That includes Brian Anthony Perry who operates a Facebook page under the title of Joint Party Perry. In a video he describes his chances as “very slim.”

But one voter downtown said, “Joint Party? I’ll join that.”

Alan Gionet is anchor of the CBS4 Morning News and reports on a wide variety of issues and “Good Question” stories. He started at CBS4 in 1994. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanGTV.