1-12-203. Vacancies in general assembly
Overview of Statute
A vacancy committee will fill vacancies in the general assembly caused by a member’s death, resignation effectuated by a member’s letter of resignation, or failure to take the oath of office. Either a political party or petition for nomination will create these vacancy committees, depending upon the vacating member’s party affiliation. These vacancies will be filled until the next general election after the vacancy occurs.
These vacancy committees must conform to certain regulations, including providing written notice about committee meetings to each member, only voting by quorum without any proxy voting, selecting a successor that meets the office’s qualifications, and providing the results to the secretary of state within thirty days. Should the committee fail to submit a chosen successor within thirty days, the governor will have five days to fill the vacancy with a qualified individual. The appropriate body within the general assembly will then ensure the selected successor may take office within thirty days unless extenuating circumstances delay the process. When filling vacancies created by a member’s resignation, the committee may only meet in the twenty days prior to the resigning member’s last day in office and cannot select a successor until the member officially leaves office. Lastly, for vacancies caused by death of a member-elect who has not taken the oath of office, the committee must meet within thirty days of the member-elect’s death and the committee’s decision may be made prior to the convening of the next general assembly.
(1) In the event of a vacancy in the general assembly caused by the death or resignation of a member who has been sworn into office, caused by the death or resignation of a member who has been elected to a seat but who has not yet been sworn into office, or caused by a person not taking the oath of office as provided in paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of this section, the vacancy shall be filled by the appropriate vacancy committee, if any, as provided in section 1-3-103 (1) (d), of the same political party and of the same representative or senatorial district represented by the former member whose seat is vacant. If the member was affiliated with a minor political party, then the vacancy shall be filled by the vacancy committee designated in the constitution or bylaws of the minor political party. If the member was unaffiliated with a political party, then the vacancy shall be filled by the vacancy committee designated on the petition for nomination pursuant to section 1-4-802 (1) (e). The vacancy shall be filled until the next general election after the vacancy occurs, when the vacancy shall be filled by election.
(2) No vacancy committee may select a person to fill a vacancy at a meeting held pursuant to this section unless a written notice announcing the time and location of the vacancy committee meeting was mailed to each of the committee members at least ten days prior to the meeting by the chairperson of the central committee that selected the members. Mailing of the notice is effective when the notice is properly addressed and deposited in the United States mail, with first-class postage prepaid.
(3) (a) The vacancy committee, by a majority vote of its members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose and open to the public, shall select a person who possesses the constitutional qualifications for a member of the general assembly and who is affiliated with the same political party or minor political party, if any, shown on the registration books of the county clerk and recorder as the former member whose seat is vacant. No meeting shall be held until a quorum is present consisting of not less than one-half of the voting membership of the vacancy committee. No member of the vacancy committee may vote by proxy. The committee shall certify the selection to the secretary of state within thirty days from the date the vacancy occurs; except that, in the case of a vacancy filled pursuant to section 1-4-1002 (2.5), the committee shall certify the selection within thirty days after the date of the general election affected by the vacancy. If the vacancy committee fails to certify a selection within thirty days in accordance with the provisions of this subsection (3), the governor, within five days, shall fill the vacancy by appointing a person having the qualifications set forth in this subsection (3). The name of the person selected or appointed shall be certified to the secretary of state.
(b) No sooner than two days after receiving the certification from the vacancy committee, the secretary of state shall certify the name of the person selected or appointed to the appropriate house of the general assembly. The oath of office shall be administered to the person within thirty days of the receipt of such certification by the appropriate house or on the convening date of the general assembly, whichever occurs first; except that the president of the senate or the speaker of the house of representatives, as appropriate, shall extend the time to take the oath upon a finding that extenuating circumstances prevented the person from taking the oath within the initial thirty-day period. In the event the person does not take the oath of office in accordance with this paragraph (b), the office shall be deemed vacant and shall be filled by the appropriate vacancy committee pursuant to the provisions of this section. The person, after having qualified and taken the oath of office, shall immediately assume the duties of office and shall serve until the next convening of the general assembly following the election certification and qualification of a successor. Nothing in this subsection (3) shall be construed to reduce the number of consecutive terms that a person appointed to fill a vacancy in the general assembly may serve in accordance with section 3 of article V of the state constitution.
(4) For purposes of this section, a vacancy caused by the resignation of a member of the general assembly occurs on the effective date of the member’s letter of resignation to the chief clerk of the house of representatives or the secretary of the senate. If the letter of resignation gives an effective date of resignation that is later than the date the letter of resignation is submitted, the vacancy committee may meet no more than twenty days prior to the effective date of the resignation for the purposes of nominating a person to fill the vacancy. The certification of the nominee of the vacancy committee to the secretary of state may not be made prior to the effective date of the resignation; further, should the member of the general assembly withdraw the letter of resignation prior to the effective date, the person nominated by the vacancy committee may not be certified to the secretary of state.
(5) If the vacancy is caused by the death of a member-elect of the general assembly who has been elected to office but who has not yet been sworn in, the vacancy committee shall meet no more than thirty days after the death of the general assembly member-elect to fill the vacancy. The certification of the nomination of the vacancy committee to the secretary of state may be made prior to the convening of the general assembly but shall not take effect until the effective date of the vacancy, which is the first day the general assembly convenes.
Source: L. 92: Entire article R&RE, p. 800, § 15, effective January 1, 1993.L. 95: (1) and (3) amended and (4) and (5) added, p. 851, § 80, effective July 1.L. 98: (1) and (3) amended, p. 260, § 15, effective April 13; (3) amended, p. 812, § 2, effective May 26.L. 99: (3) amended, p. 934, § 4, effective August 4.L. 2008: Entire section amended, p. 1745, § 1, effective August 5.
(2) Amendments to subsection (3) by House Bill 98-1110 and Senate Bill 98-193 were harmonized.
Applied in Kallenberger v. Buchanan, 649 P.2d 314 (Colo. 1982) (decided under former law).
1. Definition for United States
Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
2. Definition for Political party
Any group of registered electors who, by petition or assembly, nominate candidates for the official general election ballot. “Political party” includes affiliated party organizations at the state, county, and election district levels, and all such affiliates are considered to be a single entity for the purposes of this article, except as otherwise provided in section 7. Section 2(13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
3. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
4. Definition for Person
Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
5. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
6. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
7. Definition for Committee
The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
Case Name: Kallenberger v. Buchanan
Citation: 649 P.2d 314 (Colo. 1982)
- Courts do not intrude in the area of apportionment of electoral districts unless constitutional rights are violated.
- A court-created deviation from boundaries carefully fashioned in the 1982 Reapportionment and already approved by this Court has the potential to create needless confusion by casting doubt on the validity for various purposes of district boundaries. In the absence of a showing beyond a reasonable doubt that section 2-2-504 is unconstitutional, we find unjustified the district court's disregard of that legislative directive.