Hey Coloradans, This Businessman Is One Of Your 20 Other Choices For President

October 26, 2016
Photo: Rod Silva nutrition party candidate for president 2016
Rod Silva, Nutrition Party candidate for president.

Many Coloradans unhappy about the two major candidates for president say they will support third party candidates Jill Stein, from the Green Party, or Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. And there are a lot of options for president on Colorado's ballot -- 22 in total, including Rod Silva of the Nutrition Party.

Silva is a New Jersey businessman making his first run for president. He says he's not fundraising, but does have about 1,000 volunteers working on his campaign, whose slogan is "Make America Healthy Again." 

"The greatest need is the health of the American people," Silva says. He adds that obesity and other long-term health conditions will make the nation unproductive and that to get people back to work, they first have to be healthy. Silva founded a chain of restaurants, Muscle Maker Grill, and says his presidential run is an extension of his business career -- not a way to promote it. There are no Muscle Maker franchises in Colorado.

Laurence Kotlikoff is running on the Kotlikoff for President ticket. He says he doesn't like parties, particularly the two major ones in the U.S.

"I think parties are like a religion; you have to abide by some party line. That's why I decided not to run as a Democrat or a Republican," he says. "I think people need to think on their own."

Kotlikoff is a prominent economist who teaches at Boston University. He says he's running for president because he's met with politicians over the years to advocate for various policies related to Social Security and other issues but, "it's not leading to good policy." He says too often good policies get stymied because of potentially negative political implications. 

Of the 18 other candidates on Colorado's ballot who aren't named Clinton, Trump, Stein or Johnson, some are pushing single issues, like Frank Atwood of the Approval Voting Party. Atwood advocates for changing elections to what's called "approval voting," where Coloradans could vote for as many candidates as they want, and still the one with the most votes would win. 

But Atwood, Kotlikoff, Silva and the others face significant challenges to get elected. Silva is only on the ballot in Colorado and Kotlikoff is on it in one other state: Louisiana. Silva and Kotlikoff both hope for write-ins elsewhere in the country.

Colorado and Louisiana are particularly likely to have several candidates on the ballot because they are the only two states where someone can essentially pay their way onto the ballot. In Colorado, candidates pay $1,000 and have to show that nine registered voters will agree to be electors.

That low barrier to entry is good for people who aspire to be president but can be bad for election officials, according to Peter Marcus, a reporter for the Durango Herald. He found that a multi-page ballot can lead to increased costs for counties that administer elections and can contribute to voter confusion.

Marcus and Silva spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.