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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Elections - Access To Ballot By Candidates

1-4-1407. Initiative – petition

Overview of Statute

Registered voters may submit to the board of county commissioners a proposed ballot question regarding the term limits for district attorneys. They can commence the initiative process by filing written notice of the proposed ballot question with the county clerk and recorder, and, within 180 days of the approval of the petition but at least 140 days before the next scheduled coordinated or general election, file a petition signed by registered electors comprising at least five percent of votes cast in the county for all candidates of the office of district attorney at the pervious general election.

Each initiative petition must be submitted to the county clerk and recorder for approval. The county clerk and recorder must approve or reject the petition within five business days following its receipt. Each petition will designate by name and mailing address two persons who will represent the proponents in all matters affecting the initiative petition and to whom all notices or information concerning the petition should be mailed. In addition, each petition must contain a warning about applicable law at the top of every page, a summary of the proposed ballot question, and the full text of the proposed ballot question following the summary on the first page or pages of the petition section that precede the signatory page. Following the signature pages of each petition section, the petition question must include a signed, notarized, and dated affidavit executed by the person who circulated the petition section.

These affidavits must also affirm several qualifications described in this statute. Any disassembly of a petition section that separates the affidavit from the signature pages will render the petition invalid. Signatures added after an affidavit has been executed will also be considered invalid. This statute also requires several requirements related to petition signers. Once received, the county clerk and recorders must also follow specific procedures related to determining its sufficiency and providing copies to effected individuals. Within forty days of filing, a protest may be filed by any registered elector eligible to vote on the issue, stating grounds for the protest. Grounds for protest include, but are not limited to the failure of any portion of a petition or circulator affidavit to meet the requirements of this section. The regulations of the hearing are also provided by statute.

Statute

(1) (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the registered electors of a county may submit to the board of county commissioners of the county a proposed ballot question regarding lengthening, shortening, or eliminating the limitation on terms of office for the district attorney of the judicial district imposed by section 11 of article XVIII of the state constitution. The registered electors may commence the initiative process by filing written notice of the proposed ballot question with the county clerk and recorder and subsequently, within one hundred eighty days after approval of the petition pursuant to subsection (2) of this section but no less than one hundred forty days prior to the next scheduled coordinated or general election, by filing a petition signed by registered electors of the county in an amount equal to at least five percent of the total number of votes cast in the county for all candidates for the office of district attorney at the previous general election.

(b) Upon the receipt and verification of the initiative petition pursuant to this section, the board of county commissioners shall refer the proposed ballot question, in the form petitioned for, to the registered electors of the county at the next scheduled coordinated or general election, whichever occurs first.

(2) (a) Each initiative petition filed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall be printed in a form consistent with this subsection (2). No petition shall be printed or circulated unless the form and the first printer’s proof of the petition section have first been submitted to the county clerk and recorder and approved by the county clerk and recorder. The county clerk and recorder shall approve or reject the form and the first printer’s proof of the petition no later than five business days following the date on which the county clerk and recorder received such material. The county clerk and recorder shall assure that the petition section contains only those elements required by this section and contains no extraneous material.

(b) Each petition section shall designate by name and mailing address two persons who shall represent the proponents thereof on all matters affecting the initiative petition and to whom all notices or information concerning the petition shall be mailed.

(c) (I) At the top of each page of every initiative petition section, the following shall be printed, in a form as prescribed by the county clerk and recorder:


WARNING: IT IS AGAINST THE LAW:


For anyone to sign any initiative petition with any name other than his or her own, or to knowingly sign his or her name more than once for the same measure, or to knowingly sign a petition when not a registered elector who is eligible to vote on the measure.

DO NOT SIGN THIS PETITION UNLESS YOU ARE A REGISTERED ELECTOR AND ELIGIBLE TO VOTE ON THIS MEASURE. TO BE A REGISTERED ELECTOR, YOU MUST BE A CITIZEN OF COLORADO AND REGISTERED TO VOTE.



Do not sign this petition unless you have read or have had read to you the proposed initiative or the summary in its entirety and understand its meaning.

(II) A summary of the proposed ballot question that is the subject of an initiative petition shall be printed following the warning on each page of a petition section. The summary shall be true and impartial and shall not be an argument, or likely to create prejudice, either for or against the measure. The summary shall be prepared by the county clerk and recorder.

(III) The full text of the proposed ballot question that is the subject of an initiative petition shall be printed following the summary on the first page or pages of the petition section that precede the signature page. Notwithstanding the requirement of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (c), if the text of the proposed ballot question requires more than one page of a petition section, the warning and summary need not appear at the top of any page other than the initial text page.

(IV) The signature pages shall consist of the warning and the summary, followed by ruled lines numbered consecutively for registered electors’ signatures. If a petition section contains multiple signature pages, all signature lines shall be numbered consecutively, from the first signature page through the last. The signature pages shall follow the page or pages on which the full text of the proposed ballot question that is the subject of the initiative petition is printed.

(3) (a) Following the signature pages of each petition section, there shall be attached a signed, notarized, and dated affidavit executed by the person who circulated the petition section, which shall include the following:

(I) The affiant’s printed name, the address at which the affiant resides, including the affiant’s street name and number, municipality, and county, and the date the affiant signed the affidavit;

(II) That the affiant has read and understands the laws governing the circulation of initiative petitions;

(III) That the affiant was eighteen years of age or older at the time the petition section was circulated and signed by the listed electors;

(IV) That the affiant circulated the petition section;

(V) That each signature thereon was affixed in the affiant’s presence;

(VI) That each signature thereon is the signature of the person whose name it purports to be;

(VII) That, to the best of the affiant’s knowledge and belief, each of the persons signing the initiative petition section was, at the time of signing, a registered elector; and

(VIII) That the affiant has not paid or will not in the future pay and that the affiant believes that no other person has paid or will pay, directly or indirectly, any money or other thing of value to any signer for the purpose of inducing or causing such signer to affix the signer’s signature to the initiative petition.

(b) The county clerk and recorder shall not accept for filing any petition section that does not have attached thereto the notarized affidavit required by paragraph (a) of this subsection (3). Any disassembly of a petition section that has the effect of separating the affidavit from the signature page or pages shall render that petition section invalid and of no force and effect.

(c) Any signature added to a petition section after the affidavit has been executed shall be invalid.

(d) All petition sections shall be prenumbered serially.

(e) Any petition section that fails to conform to the requirements of this section or that is circulated in a manner other than that permitted by this section shall be invalid.

(4) The circulation of any petition section other than personally by a circulator is prohibited. No petition section shall be circulated by any person who is not eighteen years of age or older at the time the petition section is circulated.

(5) Any initiative petition shall be signed only by registered electors who are eligible to vote on the measure. Each registered elector shall sign his or her own signature and shall print his or her name, the address at which he or she resides, including the street number and name, the city or town, and the county, and the date of signing. Each registered elector signing a petition shall be encouraged by the circulator of the petition to sign the petition in ink. In the event a registered elector is physically unable to sign the petition or is illiterate and wishes to sign the petition, the elector shall sign and make his or her mark in the space so provided. Any person, but not a circulator, may assist the disabled or illiterate elector in completing the remaining information required by this section. The person providing assistance shall sign his or her name and address and shall state that such assistance was given to the signor.

(6) (a) The county clerk and recorder shall inspect timely filed initiative petitions and the attached affidavits, and may do so by examining the information on signature lines for patent defects, by comparing the information on signature lines against a list of registered electors of the county.

(b) After examining the initiative petition, the county clerk and recorder shall issue a statement as to whether a sufficient number of valid signatures has been submitted. A copy of the statement shall be mailed to the persons designated as representing the petition proponents pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section.

(c) The statement of sufficiency or insufficiency shall be issued no later than thirty calendar days after the initiative petition has been filed. If the county clerk and recorder fails to issue a statement within thirty calendar days, the petition shall be deemed sufficient.

(7) (a) Within forty days after an initiative petition is filed, a protest in writing under oath may be filed in the office of the county clerk and recorder by any registered elector who resides in the county, setting forth specifically the grounds for such protest. The grounds for protest may include, but shall not be limited to, the failure of any portion of a petition or circulator affidavit to meet the requirements of this section. No signature may be challenged that is not identified in the protest by section and line number. The county clerk and recorder shall forthwith mail a copy of such protest to the persons designated as representing the petition proponents pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section and to the protester, together with a notice fixing a time for hearing such protest that is not less than five or more than ten days after such notice is mailed.

(b) The county clerk and recorder shall furnish a requesting protester with a list of the registered electors in the county and shall charge a fee to cover the cost of furnishing the list.

(c) Every hearing shall be held before the county clerk and recorder with whom such protest is filed. The county clerk and recorder shall serve as hearing officer unless some other person is designated by the board of county commissioners as the hearing officer, and the testimony in every such hearing shall be under oath. The hearing officer shall have the power to issue subpoenas and compel the attendance of witnesses. The hearing shall be summary and not subject to delay and shall be concluded within sixty days after the petition is filed. No later than five days after the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a written determination of whether the petition is sufficient or not sufficient. If the hearing officer determines that a petition is not sufficient, the officer shall identify those portions of the petition that are not sufficient and the reasons therefor. The result of the hearing shall be forthwith certified to the protester and to the persons designated as representing the petition proponents pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section. The determination as to petition sufficiency may be reviewed by the district court for the county upon application of the protester, the persons designated as representing the petition proponents, or the county, but such review shall be had and determined forthwith.

(8) The general assembly finds the provisions of this section are a matter of statewide concern and shall apply to all counties, including home rule counties, and to the city and county of Denver and the city and county of Broomfield.

 

Source: L. 2010: Entire part added, (SB 10-070), ch. 238, p. 1042, § 1, effective May 20.

Definition [Circulated]

Presented to an elector for the collection of a signature and other information required by this article. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.

Definition [Circulator]

A person who presents to other persons for possible signature a petition for recall as described in this article. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.

Definition [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.

Definition [Ballot]

(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;

(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or

(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.

(2) “Covered voter” means:

(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or

(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.

C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [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.

Definition [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.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

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