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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Initiative And Referendum

1-40-106. Title board – meetings – ballot title – initiative and referendum

Statute

(1) For ballot issues, beginning with the first submission of a draft after an election, the secretary of state shall convene a title board consisting of the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the director of the office of legislative legal services or their designees. The title board, by majority vote, shall proceed to designate and fix a proper fair title for each proposed law or constitutional amendment, together with a submission clause, at public meetings to be held at the hour determined by the title board on the first and third Wednesdays of each month in which a draft or a motion for reconsideration has been submitted to the secretary of state. To be considered at such meeting, a draft shall be submitted to the secretary of state no later than 3 p.m. on the twelfth day before the meeting at which the draft is to be considered by the title board, and the designated representatives of the proponents must comply with the requirements of subsection (4) of this section. The first meeting of the title board shall be held no sooner than the first Wednesday in December after an election, and the last meeting shall be held no later than the third Wednesday in April in the year in which the measure is to be voted on.

(2) (Deleted by amendment, L. 95, p. 431, § 4, effective May 8, 1995.)

(3) (a) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2000, p. 1620, § 1, effective August 2, 2000.)

(b) In setting a title, the title board shall consider the public confusion that might be caused by misleading titles and shall, whenever practicable, avoid titles for which the general understanding of the effect of a “yes/for” or “no/against” vote will be unclear. The title for the proposed law or constitutional amendment, which shall correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning thereof, together with the ballot title and submission clause, shall be completed, except as otherwise required by section 1-40-107, within two weeks after the first meeting of the title board. Immediately upon completion, the secretary of state shall deliver the same with the original to the designated representatives of the proponents, keeping the copy with a record of the action taken thereon. Ballot titles shall be brief, shall not conflict with those selected for any petition previously filed for the same election, and, shall be in the form of a question which may be answered “yes/for” (to vote in favor of the proposed law or constitutional amendment) or “no/against” (to vote against the proposed law or constitutional amendment) and which shall unambiguously state the principle of the provision sought to be added, amended, or repealed.

(c) In order to avoid confusion between a proposition and an amendment, as such terms are used in section 1-5-407 (5) (b), the title board shall describe a proposition in a ballot title as a “change to the Colorado Revised Statutes” and an amendment as an “amendment to the Colorado constitution”.

(d) A ballot title for a statewide referred measure must be in the same form as a ballot title for an initiative as required by paragraph (c) of this subsection (3).

(4) (a) Each designated representative of the proponents shall appear at any title board meeting at which the designated representative’s ballot issue is considered.

(b) Each designated representative of the proponents shall certify by a notarized affidavit that the designated representative is familiar with the provisions of this article, including but not limited to the prohibition on circulators’ use of false addresses in completing circulator affidavits and the summary prepared by the secretary of state pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subsection (4). The affidavit shall include a physical address at which process may be served on the designated representative. The designated representative shall sign and file the affidavit with the secretary of state at the first title board meeting at which the designated representative’s ballot issue is considered.

(c) The secretary of state shall prepare a summary of the designated representatives of the proponents’ responsibilities that are set forth in this article.

(d) The title board shall not set a title for a ballot issue if either designated representative of the proponents fails to appear at a title board meeting or file the affidavit as required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection (4). The title board may consider the ballot issue at its next meeting, but the requirements of this subsection (4) shall continue to apply.

(e) The secretary of state shall provide a notary public for the designated representatives at the title board meeting.

 

 

Source: L. 93: Entire article amended with relocations, p. 679, § 1, effective May 4.L. 95: (1), (2), and (3)(a) amended, p. 431, § 4, effective May 8.L. 2000: (3) amended, p. 1620, § 1, effective August 2.L. 2004: (1) amended, p. 756, § 1, effective May 12.L. 2009: (1) amended, (HB 09-1326), ch. 258, p. 1170, § 4, effective July 1.L. 2011: (1) and (3)(b) amended and (4) added, (HB 11-1072), ch. 255, p. 1102, § 3, effective August 10.L. 2012: (1) and (3)(b) amended, (HB 12-1313), ch. 141, p. 510, § 1, effective April 26; (3)(c) and (3)(d) added, (HB 12-1089), ch. 70, p. 241, § 2, effective May 1; (3)(b) amended,(HB 12-1089), ch. 70, p. 241, § 2, effective January 1, 2013.

Editor’s note: (1) This section is similar to former § 1-40-101 as it existed prior to 1993, and the former § 1-40-106 was relocated. For a detailed comparison, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.

(2) Amendments to subsection (3)(b) by House Bill 12-1089 and House Bill 12-1313 were harmonized.

Cross references: (1) For the general assembly, powers, and initiative and referendum reserved to the people, see also § 1 of art. V, Colo. Const.; for recall from office, see art. XXI, Colo. Const.

(2) For the legislative declaration in the 2011 act amending subsections (1) and (3)(b) and adding subsection (4), see section 1 of chapter 255, Session Laws of Colorado 2011.

(3) For the legislative declaration in the 2012 act amending subsection (3)(b) and adding subsections (3)(c) and (3)(d), see section 1 of chapter 70, Session Laws of Colorado 2012.
 
ANNOTATION
 
I. General Consideration.
II. Filing.
III. Statutory Board.
IV. Title; Ballot Title and Submission Clause.
   A. Sufficiency of Titles.
      1. In General.
      2. Titles Held Sufficient.
      3. Titles Held Insufficient.
   B. Submission Clause.
   C. Catch Phrases.
   D. When Ballot Title and Submission Clause Fixed.
   E. Brevity Required.
   F. Scope of Review.
V. Summary and Fiscal Impact Statement.
 
I.GENERAL CONSIDERATION.

Law reviews. For article, “Popular Law-Making in Colorado”, see 26 Rocky Mt. L. Rev. 439 (1954).

Annotator’s note. (1) The following annotations include cases decided under former provisions similar to this section.

(2) For cases concerning the people’s right to enact their own legislation, see the annotations under § 1-40-105.

(3) For additional cases concerning the initiative and referendum power, see the annotations under § 1 of article V of the state constitution.

Flexible level of scrutiny applies to challenge of article V, section 1(5.5), of the Colorado Constitution and the statutory title-setting procedures implementing it. Under this standard, courts must weigh the “character and magnitude of the asserted injury to the rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments that the plaintiff seeks to vindicate” against the “precise interests put forward by the State as justifications for the burden imposed by its rule”, taking into consideration “the extent to which those interests make it necessary to burden the plaintiff’s rights”. Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 103 S. Ct. 1564, 75 L. Ed. 2d 547 (1983); Campbell v. Buckley, 11 F. Supp. 2d 1260 (D. Colo. 1998).

Single-subject requirement in article V, section 1 (5.5), of the constitution and the statutory title-setting procedures implementing it do not violate initiative proponents’ free speech or associational rights under the first amendment nor do they discriminate against proponents in violation of the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause. Campbell v. Buckley, 11 F. Supp. 2d 1260 (D. Colo. 1998), aff’d, 203 F.3d 738 (10th Cir. 2000).

The summary, single subject and title requirements serve to prevent voter confusion and promote informed decisions by narrowing the initiative to a single matter and providing information on that single subject. Campbell v. Buckley, 203 F.3d 738 (10th Cir. 2000).

The requirements serve to prevent a provision that would not otherwise pass from becoming law by “piggybacking” it on a more popular proposal or concealing it in a long and complex initiative. Campbell v. Buckley, 203 F.3d 738 (10th Cir. 2000).

The 12-day notice requirement in subsection (1) only governs the time requirement for submitting a draft of the text of the initiative. Subsection (1) does not require that any proposed amendments or modifications to the title or submission clause be submitted to the board at least twelve days prior to the hearing. Proposed additions or deletions from the title and submission clause may be offered by any registered elector during the public hearing or rehearing before the board. In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 877 P.2d 329 (Colo. 1994).

“Substantial compliance” is the standard by which to judge compliance with the fiscal impact information filing requirements of subsection (3)(a). Invalidation of the board’s actions when the fiscal impact information was filed five minutes late, then refiled three hours later to correct a calculation error, would impermissibly infringe on the fundamental right of initiative. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000) (decided under law in effect prior to 2000 amendment).

The purpose of the title setting process is to ensure that person reviewing the initiative petition and voters are fairly advised of the import of the proposed amendment. In re Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, 910 P.2d 21 (Colo. 1996).

Applied in Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).
 
II.FILING.

The filing of a petition to initiate a measure under the initiative and referendum statute is a ministerial act, and the secretary of state has discretion in the first instance to determine its sufficiency to entitle it to be filed. Brownlow v. Wunch, 102 Colo. 447, 80 P.2d 444 (1938) (decided under former law).
 
III.STATUTORY BOARD.

It is the duty of those to whom the duty is assigned to prepare a title to an initiated measure to use such language as shall correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning of the proposal to be submitted to the voters. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

But the action of the statutory board empowered to fix a ballot title and submission clause is presumptively valid. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958); In re Proposed Initiative “Automobile Insurance Coverage,” 877 P.2d 853 (Colo. 1994); In re Proposed Initiative 1997-1998 No. 75, 960 P.2d 672 (Colo. 1998); Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998); Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 104, 987 P.2d 249 (Colo. 1999).

And those who contend to the contrary must show wherein the assigned title does not meet the statutory requirement. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

The reason being that, under our system of government, the resolution of these questions, when the formalities for submission have been met, rests with the electorate. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

Title board had discretion to set the titles and summary of proposed initiative despite proponents’ failure to indicate all of the differences between the original and final versions of the measure submitted to the secretary of state. Matter of Prop. Init. Const. Amend. 1996-3, 917 P.2d 1274 (Colo. 1996).

Title board lacks jurisdiction to set a title if any designated representative of the proponents of a proposed initiative fails to appear at a title board meeting at which the proposed initiative is considered. Subsection (4) reflects the general assembly’s clear and unambiguous intent to require both designated representatives to appear at any title board hearing, including a rehearing, at which the proposed initiative is being considered. Hayes v. Ottke, 2013 CO 1, 293 P.3d 551.

Substitution of a third party for one of the designated representatives divests the title board of jurisdiction to act in any meeting at which either of the original designated representatives is not present. In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 No. 103, 2014 CO 61, 328 P.3d 127.

Requirements of this section concerning designated representatives are no longer merely procedural requirements promoting efficient notification, but are instead substantive requirements designed to promote the purpose of the title setting process by ensuring that the title board has access to the information that it needs to resolve the substantive issues raised at any meeting concerning a proposed initiative. Hayes v. Ottke, 2013 CO 1, 293 P.3d 551 (overruling Matter of the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the City of Antonito, 873 P.2d 733 (Colo. 1994)).

Board was created by statute to assist the people in the implementation of their right to initiate laws. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning Drinking Age, 691 P.2d 1127 (Colo. 1984).

Deputy attorney general. Because the title board is created by statute, the attorney general may designate, pursuant to § 24-31-103, a deputy to serve in her place. Amendment to Const. Section 2 to Art. VII, 900 P.2d 104 (Colo. 1995).

Delegation. Because the title board is created by statute, the attorney general, pursuant to § 24-31-103, and the secretary of state, pursuant to § 24-21-105, may designate deputies to serve in their place. Matter of Title, Ballot Title Sub. Cl., 900 P.2d 121 (Colo. 1995).

The provisions of this statute, rather than those of the Administrative Procedure Act, govern the Board’s action in designating and fixing the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary of a proposed initiative measure. In re Proposed Initiative Entitled W.A.T.E.R., 831 P.2d 1301 (Colo. 1992).

Plaintiff has a liberty right to challenge the decision of the title board. This section and § 1-40-101 insufficiently provide for the notice required by the United States Constitution to protect this liberty interest, thereby depriving plaintiff of her constitutional rights. Montero v. Meyer, 790 F. Supp. 1531 (D. Colo. 1992).

As to all initiatives and referenda hearings governed by this section occurring after April 27, 1992, defendants are ordered to publish pre-hearing and post-hearing notices to electors at least sufficient to meet the fair notice requirements of due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Montero v. Meyer, 790 F. Supp. 1531 (D. Colo. 1992).

Neither the secretary of state nor any reviewing court should be concerned with the merit or lack of merit of a proposed constitutional amendment. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

And a board acts wisely in refusing to use words in a title which would tend to color the merit of the proposal on one side or the other. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

The burden of proving procedural noncompliance rests with the petitioner, not with the proponents of the initiative. A presumption exists that the secretary of state properly determined the sufficiency of the filing of a petition to initiate a measure. Because the petitioner has not shown any defect in the proceeding that would destroy the board’s jurisdiction in the matter, the petitioner’s jurisdictional challenge is rejected. In re Petition on Campaign and Political Finance, 877 P.2d 311 (Colo. 1994).

Board is not required to give opinion regarding ambiguity of a proposed initiative, nor is it necessary for the board to be concerned with legal issues which the proposed initiative may create. Matter of Title, Ballot Title, Etc., 797 P.2d 1275 (Colo. 1990).

Task of the board is to provide a concise summary of the proposed initiative, focusing on the most critical aspects of the proposal, not simply to restate all of the provisions of the proposed initiative. Board not required to include every aspect of a proposal in the title and submission clause. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 235(a), 3 P.3d 1219 (Colo. 2000).

Board may be challenged when misleading summary of amendment prejudicial. A misleading summary of the fiscal impact of a proposed amendment is likely to create an unfair prejudice against the measure and is a sufficient basis, under this section, for challenging the board’s action. In re An Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 199 Colo. 409, 609 P.2d 631 (1980).

Request for agency assistance at board’s discretion. The decision of whether and from which of the two state agencies to request information is within the discretion of the board. Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

Technical correction of proposed initiative permitted. Allowing a technical correction of the proposed initiative to conform with the intent of the proponents does not frustrate the purpose of the statute. Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

Purpose of statutory time table for meetings of initiative title setting review board is to assure that the titles, submission clause, and summary of an initiated measure are considered promptly by the board well in advance of the date by which the signed petitions must be filed with the secretary of state. In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 200 Colo. 141, 613 P.2d 867 (1980); Matter of Title Concerning Sch. Impact Fees, 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998).

Section not frustrated by next-day continuance of statutory date for last meeting. A continuance to the next day following the statutory date for the last meeting in order to comply fully with other statutory requirements does not frustrate the purpose of this section. In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 200 Colo. 141, 613 P.2d 867 (1980).

Initiative did not qualify for November 1997 election. The requisite signatures had to be filed in the first week of August, but the title setting was not until the third week in that month and the board could not meet to consider the initiative before the third Wednesday in May of 1998. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 30, 959 P.2d 822 (Colo. 1998).

Board had the authority to set a title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary for the proposed constitutional amendment at issue, but the question of the board’s jurisdiction to set titles for a ballot issue in an odd-numbered year was premature, as the secretary of state, not the board, has the authority to place measures on the ballot. Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

Board had the authority to set the titles and summary of an initiative filed June 20, 1997, because the measure was eligible, at the earliest, for placement on the ballot in the November 1998 general election. In re Initiative #25A Concerning Hous. Unit Construction Limits, 954 P.2d 1063 (Colo. 1998).

Hearings on motions to reconsider. Even in odd numbered years, hearings on motions to reconsider decisions entered during the last meeting in May must be held within 48 hours of filing of the motion. Byrne v. Title Bd., 907 P.2d 570 (Colo. 1995); Matter of Title Concerning Sch. Impact Fees, 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998).

When board may hold meetings. Under this section, the title setting board is subject to two specific prohibitions with regard to the timing of its meetings: (1) The board may not meet between an election and the first Wednesday in December in any year in which an election is held, and (2) the board may not meet after the third Wednesday in May to consider measures that will be voted on in the upcoming November election. Matter of Title Concerning Sch. Impact Fees, 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998).

Meetings in July and August are proper when considering titles for a measure that will not be placed on the ballot until November of the following year. Matter of Title Concerning Sch. Impact Fees, 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998).

Actions of state officers under this statute upheld. Bauch v. Anderson, 178 Colo. 308, 497 P.2d 698 (1972).

The board did not intrude on the jurisdiction of the supreme court by correcting two transcription errors in the summary after the matter was on appeal before the court. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).
 
IV.TITLE; BALLOT TITLE AND SUBMISSION CLAUSE.
 
A. Sufficiency of Titles.
 
1. In General.

The purpose of the title-setting process is to ensure that both the persons reviewing an initiative petition and the voters are fairly and succinctly advised of the import of the proposed law. In re Proposed Initiative on Education Tax Refund, 823 P.2d 1353 (Colo. 1991); Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

A sufficiently clear title enables the electorate, whether familiar or unfamiliar with the subject matter of a particular proposal, to determine intelligently whether to support or oppose the proposal. In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 45, 2012 CO 26, 274 P.3d 576.

Initiated measure’s title, as set by review board, must be proper and fair and must correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning of the proposed measure. In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 200 Colo. 141, 613 P.2d 867 (1980); In re Proposed Initiative on Parental Notification of Abortions for Minors, 794 P.2d 238 (Colo. 1990).

Ballot title shall correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning of the proposed measure and shall unambiguously state the principle of the provision sought to be added, amended, or repealed. In re Proposed Initiative for 1999-2000 No. 29, 972 P.2d 257 (Colo. 1999); Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 104, 987 P.2d 249 (Colo. 1999).

The titles must be fair, clear, accurate, and complete, but they need not set out every detail of the initiative. Court reviews titles set by the board with great deference and will only reverse the board’s decision if the titles are insufficient, unfair, or misleading. In re Ballot Title 2005-2006 No. 73, 135 P.3d 736 (Colo. 2006).

In fixing titles and summaries, the board’s duty is to capture, in short form, the proposal in plain, understandable, accurate language enabling informed voter choice. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 29, 972 P.2d 257 (Colo. 1999); Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Sub. Cl., and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 37, 977 P.2d 845 (Colo. 1999); Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Sub. Cl., and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 38, 977 P.2d 849 (Colo. 1999).

It is not the court’s function to write the best possible titles. Only if the Board’s chosen language is clearly inaccurate or misleading will the court reverse it. Nor is it the court’s function to speculate on the future effects the initiative may have if it is adopted. Whether the initiative will indeed have the effect claimed by petitioners is beyond the scope of the court’s review. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 256, 12 P.3d 246 (Colo. 2000).

Title and summary fail to convey to voters the initiative’s likely impact on state spending on state programs, therefore, they may not be presented to voters as currently written. Title and summary are not clear perhaps because the original text of the proposed initiative is difficult to comprehend. Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Sub. Cl., and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 37, 977 P.2d 845 (Colo. 1999).

In approaching the question as to whether a title is a proper one, all legitimate presumptions should be indulged in favor of the propriety of an attorney general’s actions. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958); Matter of Title, Ballot Title, Etc., 850 P.2d 144 (Colo. 1993).

And if reasonable minds may differ as to the sufficiency of a title, the title should be held to be sufficient. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

Only in a clear case should a title so prepared be held insufficient. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958).

Burden for invalidating an amendment because of an alleged misleading ballot title, after adoption by the people in a general election, is heavy since the general assembly has provided procedures for challenging a ballot title prior to elections. Unless the challengers to the amendment can prove that so many voters were actually misled by the title that the result of the election might have been different, the challenge will fail. City of Glendale v. Buchanan, 195 Colo. 267, 578 P.2d 221 (1978).

And under the provisions of this section to the effect that an initiative petition shall contain a “submission clause” before being signed by electors, a petition which contains a ballot title together with the words “yes” and “no” and blank spaces opposite thereto, may be deemed to comply with the requirements of this section concerning submission clauses. Noland v. Hayward, 69 Colo. 181, 192 P. 657 (1920) (decided under former law).

The board need not and cannot describe every feature of a proposed measure in the titles and submission clause. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning State Pers. Sys., 691 P.2d 1121 (Colo. 1984); In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

To require an item by item paraphrase of the proposed constitutional amendment or statutory provision would undermine the intended relatively short and plain statement of the board that sets forth the central features of the initiative. The aim is to capture, succinctly and accurately, the initiative’s plain language to enable informed voter choice. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 62, 961 P.2d 1077 (Colo. 1998).

Title board not required to include every aspect of a proposal in the title and submission clause, to discuss every possible effect, or provide specific explanations of the measure. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(b), 245(c), 245(d), and 245(e), 1 P.3d 720 (Colo. 2000); In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g), 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000).

Board has discretion in resolving interrelated problems of length, complexity, and clarity in designating a title and ballot title and submission clause. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

The board is charged with the duty to act with utmost dedication to the goal of producing documents which will enable the electorate, whether familiar or unfamiliar with the subject matter of a particular proposal, to determine intelligently whether to support or oppose such a proposal. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning “State Personnel System”, 691 P.2d 1121 (Colo. 1984); Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

Duty to voters is paramount. Board should not resolve all ambiguities in favor of proponents when to do so would come at the expense of other, equally important duties. Board is statutorily required to exercise its authority to protect against public confusion and reject an initiative that cannot be understood clearly enough to allow the setting of a clear title. In re Proposed Initiative 1999-2000 No. 25, 974 P.2d 458 (Colo. 1999).

The board must avoid titles for which a general understanding of a “yes” or “no” vote would be unclear. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning “Automobile Insurance Coverage,” 877 P.2d 853 (Colo. 1994).

Explanation of effect on existing law permitted. The board is not precluded from adopting language which explains to the signers of a petition and the voter how the initiative fits in the context of existing law, even though the specific language is not found in the text of the proposed statute. In re Title Pertaining to Sale of Table Wine in Grocery Stores, 646 P.2d 916 (Colo. 1982).

Although every possible effect need not be included. There is no requirement that every possible effect be included within the title or the ballot title and submission clause. In re Title Pertaining to Sale of Table Wine in Grocery Stores, 646 P.2d 916 (Colo. 1982); Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

And the board is not required to explain the relationship between the initiative and other statutes or constitutional provisions. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

In considering whether the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary accurately reflect the intent of the proposed initiative, it is appropriate to consider the testimony of the proponent concerning the intent of the proposed initiative that was offered at the public meeting at which the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary were set. In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Unsafe Workplace Environment, 830 P.2d 1031 (Colo. 1992).

Initiated measure’s title will be rejected only if it is misleading, inaccurate, or fails to reflect the central features of the proposed initiative. Matter of Ballot Title 1997-98 No. 74, 962 P.2d 927 (Colo. 1998).

It is well established that the titles and summary of a proposed initiative need not spell out every detail of a proposed initiative in order to convey its meaning accurately and fairly. Matter of Ballot Title 1997-98 No. 74, 962 P.2d 927 (Colo. 1998).

In setting titles, the board must correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning of the proposed initiative and must consider the public confusion that might be caused by misleading titles. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(b), 245(c), 245(d), and 245(e), 1 P.3d 720 (Colo. 2000); In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g), 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000).

Title and summary are sufficient if a voter would not be confused about the nature of the initiative or its provisions regarding election information. Where the summary for an initiative concerning the procedures to be used to provide the public with information about a judge standing for a retention or removal election fully sets forth the information that will be provided to the public and discloses that no judicial performance commission reviews will be published, a voter would not be confused about the initiative or the provisions regarding election information. Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 104, 987 P.2d 249 (Colo. 1999).
 
2. Titles Held Sufficient.

The adoption of article X, section 20 of the Colorado constitution does not obligate the board to disclose every ramification of a proposed tax measure. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

There is no requirement that the board state the effect an initiative will have on other constitutional and statutory provisions or describe every feature of a proposed measure in the titles. In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the Town of Burlington, 830 P.2d 1023 (Colo. 1992); In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in Manitou Springs, 826 P.2d 1241 (Colo. 1992); Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993); Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994); In re Petition on Campaign and Political Finance, 877 P.2d 311 (Colo. 1994).

Title was sufficient where it conveyed proposed initiative’s singular purpose of providing a uniform definition of “fee” by repeating the language of the proposed definition. It was not necessary for the title to list every context in which the proposed definition might apply. In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 No. 129, 2014 CO 53, 333 P.3d 101.

Failure to mention existing similar statute of no effect. The failure to mention the existence of a statute addressing the same or similar subject as that of a proposed amendment does not have any effect on the acceptability of the titles, summary, and submission clause. In re Proposed Initiative on Transf. of Real Estate, 200 Colo. 40, 611 P.2d 981 (1980).

No requirement that provisions of section to be repealed must be set out in the ballot title and submission clause. Matter of Proposed Constitutional Amendment, 757 P.2d 132 (Colo. 1988).

Where an initiative includes language that states, “This section was adopted by a vote of the people at the general election in 1998”, the title board need not include this language in the summary or title. The general assembly may amend or repeal statutory provisions regardless of whether they are voter approved or not. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Board had no duty to reveal in the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary the alleged irrepealability of initiative during a certain period where initiative did not state anywhere that it was “irrepealable” and petitioner failed to provide any evidence of proponent’s intent to effect an irrepealability clause. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

Reference does not have to be made in the ballot title to the purpose of the initiative. The fact that disability benefits were to be provided at a reasonable cost to employers was not essential for title setting purposes. The Title Setting Board is not required to describe every feature of a proposed measure in the title or submission clause. Matter of Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning the Fair Treatment of Injured Workers Amendment, 873 P.2d 718 (Colo. 1994).

Subsection (3)(b) requires that conflicting ballot titles distinguish between overlapping or conflicting proposals. Petitioners’ claim that the board had erred by not specifying that the proposed amendment conflicted with the Workers’ Choice of Care Amendment was rejected. The court held that there was no “discernible conflict” between the two ballot titles. Matter of Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning the Fair Treatment of Injured Workers Amendment, 873 P.2d 718 (Colo. 1994).

Board was not required to interpret meaning of two conflicting provisions in initiative or indicate whether they would conflict where two conflicting amendments may be proposed or even adopted at same election and where board disclosed both provisions in the title and submission clause. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

Although the texts of two initiatives are similar, the titles and submission clauses set by the board accurately reflect an important distinction between them. Voters comparing the titles and submission clauses for the two measures would be able to distinguish between the measures and would not be misled into voting for or against either measure by reason of the words chosen by the board. In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 877 P.2d 329 (Colo. 1994).

Although the first clause of the title for two conflicting measures is the same, the subsequent clauses are different and reflect the distinctions between the two measures; therefore, the titles of the two measures do not conflict. In re Ballot Title 2007-2008 No. 61, 184 P.3d 747 (Colo. 2008).

The title board’s failure to include a reference to other related proposed initiatives in title and summary of initiative do not make them misleading. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Not specifying where gambling would be lawful or which city ordinances would be applicable was not essential to nor fatal to the title. Matter of the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the City of Antonito, 873 P.2d 733 (Colo. 1994).

It is not the function of the Board to disclose every possible interpretation of the language of the initiative. In Re Prop. Init. “Fair Fishing”, 877 P.2d 1355 (Colo. 1994).

The title, submission clause, and summary must reflect the intent of the initiative as drafted. They need not reflect intentions of the proponents that are not expressed in the measure itself. In re Proposed Initiative on Water Rights, 877 P.2d 321 (Colo. 1994).

Board is not required to give opinion regarding ambiguity of a proposed initiative, nor is it necessary for the board to be concerned with legal issues which the proposed initiative may create. Matter of Title, Ballot Title, Etc., 797 P.2d 1275 (Colo. 1990).

Board is not required to consider and resolve potential or theoretical disputes or determine the meaning or application of proposed amendment. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

Board’s duty is merely to summarize central features of initiated measure in the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary in a clear and concise manner. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

There is no requirement that ballot title and submission clause identify any articles or sections which are amended. Matter of Title, Ballot Title, Etc., 797 P.2d 1275 (Colo. 1990).

No clear case presented for the invalidation of titles fixed by the board where the wording of the titles attributes a meaning to the text that is reasonable, although nor free from all doubt, and relates to a feature of the proposed law that is both peripheral to its central purpose and of limited temporal relevance. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning Drinking Age, 691 P.2d 1127 (Colo. 1984).

Titles were not insufficient for failure to contain the general subject matter of the proposed constitutional amendment or because the provisions of the proposed amendment were listed chronologically rather than in order of significance. Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

The fact that the ballot title contains two separate paragraphs that are not identical does not make the ballot title ambiguous for purposes of this section. The relevant determination is whether the two paragraphs are sufficiently different such that a voter reasonably could vote in favor of the question as presented in one paragraph and yet decide to vote against the question as presented in the other paragraph. It is implausible to suggest that a voter reasonably could have considered voting in favor of one paragraph in the ballot title and against the other paragraph where the only difference between the two paragraphs is that one paragraph is slightly more detailed than the other. Bickel v. City of Boulder, 885 P.2d 215 (Colo. 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1155, 115 S. Ct. 1112, 130 L. Ed. 2d 1076 (1995).

All three of the main tax issues were set forth in the title, submission clause, and summary with sufficient particularity to apprise voters that the proposed amendment would increase taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

It was within the board’s discretion to omit information from the title or submission clause regarding the creation of a citizen’s commission on tobacco and health and that spending categories and required appropriations contained in the proposed amendment could only be changed by a subsequent constitutional amendment since neither were central features to the proposal. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

Absence of definitions was distinguishable from situation in In re Proposed Initiative on Parental Notification of Abortions for Minors, 794 P.2d 238 (Colo. 1990), since although the definitions may have been broader than common usage in some respects and narrower in others, they appeared to be included for sake of brevity and they would not adopt a new or controversial legal standard which would be of significance to all concerned with the issues surrounding election reform. Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

The titles are not required to include definitions of terms unless the terms adopt a new or controversial legal standard that would be of significance to all concerned with the initiative. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

And the board is not usually required to define a term that is undefined in the proposed measure. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

A title and summary that repeat or reword much of the language of the proposed initiative and contain complex clauses are not insufficient if they fairly express the intent and meaning of the proposed initiative. Percy v. Hayes, 954 P.2d 1063 (Colo. 1998).

Titles are fair, sufficient, and clear. Titles track the language of the proposed initiative. By using general language suggesting initiative limited to “tax or debt campaigns”, titles fairly put public on notice that provision applies to any election that affects taxes or the creation of public debt. Although titles do not mention “pass-through” or “pooling” provisions of proposed initiative, these provisions are not central features of the measure. Finally, because titles state that any election that violates provisions of the initiative is void, titles that fail to disclose that district must refund moneys collected in violation of initiative are not confusing, and voters would not be misled. In re Ballot Title 2005-2006 No. 73, 135 P.3d 736 (Colo. 2006).

Title is fair, clear, and accurate and includes the central features of the proposed initiative. In re Ballot Title 2007-2008 No. 57, 185 P.3d 142 (Colo. 2008); In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 No. 89, 2014 CO 66, 328 P.3d 172; In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 Nos. 90 and 93, 2014 CO 63, 328 P.3d 155.

Title clearly and fairly expressed single subject of the public’s rights in the water of natural streams. In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 3, 2012 CO 25, 274 P.3d 562.

Title satisfied the clear title requirement, even though it necessarily contained several terms of art due to the technical nature of state water law, because it expressly stated a single subject of public control of water and summarized clarifying provisions of the proposed initiative so that the voters could understand the initiative’s purpose and substance. In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 45, 2012 CO 26, 274 P.3d 576.

Title of initiative is not likely to mislead voters as to initiative’s purpose or effect and does not conceal hidden intent. Whether initiative prevents the legislature from enacting certain laws or prohibits their enforcement is immaterial since the effect is the same and is clearly expressed in the title: No Colorado law that requires an individual to participate in a health care plan or prevents an individual from paying directly for health care services will be permissible under the state constitution. In re Title, Ballot Title, Sub. Cl. for 2009-2010 No. 45, 234 P.3d 642 (Colo. 2010).
 
3. Titles Held Insufficient.

A title and submission clause do not fairly and accurately reflect the intent and purpose of an initiative if the voters are not informed that the intent is to prevent the state courts from adopting a definition of obscenity that is broader than under the U.S. constitution. In re Proposed Initiative on “Obscenity,” 877 P.2d 848 (Colo. 1994).

Titles set by board create confusion and are misleading because they do not sufficiently inform the voter of the parental-waiver process and its virtual elimination of bilingual education as a viable parental and school district option. In re Ballot Titles 001-02 No. 21 & No. 22, 44 P.3d 213 (Colo. 2002).

Failure of title, ballot title, and submission clause to include definition of abortion which would impose a new legal standard which is likely to be controversial made title, ballot title, and submission clause deficient in that they did not fully inform signers of initiative petitions and voters and did not fairly reflect the contents of the proposed initiative. In re Proposed Initiative on Parental Notification of Abortions for Minors, 794 P.2d 238 (Colo. 1990); In re Proposed Initiative Concerning “Automobile Insurance Coverage”, 877 P.2d 853 (Colo. 1994).

Titles set by the board were insufficient in that they did not state that the proposal would impose mandatory fines for willful violations of the campaign contribution and election reforms, they did not state that the proposal would prohibit certain campaign contributions from certain sources, they did not state that the proposal would make both procedural and substantive changes to the petition process, and they did not specifically list the changes to the numbers of seats in the house of representatives and the senate. Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

Ballot title was misleading because of the order in which the material was presented. The court held that in order to correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning of the initiative all provisions concerning the city of Antonito must be grouped together. Further, the board could arrange the title to reflect the subject matter at issue. Matter of the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the City of Antonito, 873 P.2d 733 (Colo. 1994).

Repetition of the language from the initiative itself in the title and submission clause does not necessarily ensure that the voters will be apprised of the true intent and purpose of the initiative. In re Proposed Initiative on “Obscenity,” 877 P.2d 848 (Colo. 1994); In re Ballot Titles 2001-02 No. 21 & No. 22, 44 P.3d 213 (Colo. 2002).

Where the board deferred to the proponents’ statements of intent and attempted to set a title reflective of such intent, but the record showed that the board itself did not fully understand the measure, title was not sufficiently clear and board was directed to strike the title and return the measure to the proponents. In re Proposed Initiative 1999-2000 No. 25, 974 P.2d 458 (Colo. 1999).

Ballot title found insufficient. The title “Petition Procedures” fails to convey the fact that the initiative would create numerous “fundamental rights” retroactively to 1990 unrelated to procedural changes. Amendment to Const. Section 2 to Art. VII, 900 P.2d 104 (Colo. 1995).

Ballot title found insufficient and misleading. In re Tax Reform, 797 P.2d 1283 (Colo. 1990).

In a proceeding involving the sufficiency of a ballot title and submission clause for a proposed initiative amendment to the state constitution, it was held that the title as fixed by the statutory board was deficient as indicated, and the title was amended in conformity with a stipulation of the parties, and as amended, approved. Jennings v. Morrison, 117 Colo. 363, 187 P.2d 930 (1947).

Title was misleading as to the true intent and meaning of the proposed initiative where the title and summary did not contain any indication that the geographic area affected would have been limited, and therefore there would be a significant risk that voters statewide would have misperceived the scope of the proposed initiative. Matter of Proposed Initiative 1996-17, 920 P.2d 798 (Colo. 1996).

Title was misleading because combination of language specifying that parents of non-English speaking children could opt out of an English immersion program in favor of a bilingual education program and lack of language specifying that school districts would be prohibited from requiring schools to offer bilingual education programs had the potential to mislead voters into thinking parents would have a choice between English immersion and bilingual education programs when bilingual programs actually might not be available in many instances. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 258(A), 4 P.3d 1094 (Colo. 2000).

Title board directed on remand to fix the ballot title and submission clause of proposed initiatives where the language of the designated titles is inconsistent with their summaries. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(b), 245(c), 245(d), and 245(e), 1 P.3d 720 (Colo. 2000).

The title and summary on an initiative concerning judicial personnel held unclear. Title and summary contain contradictory language regarding the definition of personnel, and a voter would not be able to determine which judicial personnel were included in the initiative. Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 104, 987 P.2d 249 (Colo. 1999).

The title and summary on an initiative concerning the procedure used to remove a judge held unclear. Language in the summary, which was repeated verbatim from the language of the initiative but was not explained or analyzed in the summary, creates confusion and ambiguity and is therefore insufficient. Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 104, 987 P.2d 249 (Colo. 1999).
 
B. Submission Clause.

To submit means to present and leave to the judgment of the qualified voters. Noland v. Hayward, 69 Colo. 181, 192 P. 657 (1920).

The submission clause is the one that appears on the ballot at the election and upon which the electorate may vote for or against the proposed amendment. Dye v. Baker, 143 Colo. 458, 354 P.2d 498 (1960); Henry v. Baker, 143 Colo. 461, 354 P.2d 490 (1960).

But the expression “submission clause” was used in referring to a ballot title or to the matter which went upon the ballot and which was before the electors at the time they cast their respective votes for or against the initiated measure. In People ex rel. Moore v. Perkins, 56 Colo. 17, 137 P. 55, 1914D Ann. Cas. 1154 (1913).

Nevertheless, it should fairly and succinctly advise the voters what is being submitted, so that in the haste of an election the voter will not be misled into voting for or against a proposition by reason of the words employed. Dye v. Baker, 143 Colo. 458, 354 P.2d 498 (1960).
 
C. Catch Phrases.

“Catch phrases,” or words which could form the basis of a slogan for use by those who expect to carry on a campaign for or against an initiated constitutional amendment, should be carefully avoided by the statutory board in writing a ballot title and submission clause. Say v. Baker, 137 Colo. 155, 322 P.2d 317 (1958); Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

The title board should avoid the use of catch phrases or slogans in the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary of proposed initiatives. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 258(A), 4 P.3d 1094 (Colo. 2000).

“Catch phrases” are forbidden in ballot titles. Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

And where a catch phrase was used in the submission clause by the statutory board in fixing a submission clause and ballot title to a proposed constitutional amendment, the supreme court, on review, remanded the matter to the board with instruction to revise the submission clause by elimination of the catch phrase. Henry v. Baker, 143 Colo. 461, 354 P.2d 490 (1960); Dye v. Baker, 143 Colo. 458, 354 P.2d 498 (1960).

Words “rapidly and effectively as possible” are a prohibited “catch phrase” because they mask the policy question of whether the most rapid and effective way to teach English to non-English speaking children is through an English immersion program and tip the substantive debate surrounding the issue to be submitted to the electorate. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 258(A), 4 P.3d 1094 (Colo. 2000).

The words “adjusted net proceeds” and “adjusted gross proceeds” are not prohibited “catch phrases”. The fact that such phrases were not defined in the initiative reflected the proponent’s intent that the legislature interpret their meaning. Matter of the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the City of Antonito, 873 P.2d 733 (Colo. 1994).

The phrase “be on” the water is not misleading and is sufficiently clear. In Re Prop. Init. “Fair Fishing”, 877 P.2d 1355 (Colo. 1994).

Because the proposed amendment contains no definition of the term “strong public trust doctrine”, such a definition must await future judicial construction and cannot appropriately be included in the title or submission clause. In re Proposed Initiative on Water Rights, 877 P.2d 321 (Colo. 1994).

The phrase “refund to taxpayers” is not an inherently prohibited catch phrase. The term “refund” may be characterized inaccurately when read in isolation. When read in the context in which the term is used in the titles and summary and in the proposed initiative, however, the special sense of “refund” is adequately clarified. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Deterioration of a group of terms into an impermissible catch phrase is an imprecise process. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Use of the phrase “to preserve . . . the social institution of marriage” in titles and summaries of measures to recognize marriage between a man and a woman as valid does not constitute an impermissible catch phrase that may create prejudice in violation of this section. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 227 and 228, 3 P.3d 1 (Colo. 2000).

The phrase “concerning the management of growth” is neutral, with none of the hallmarks that have characterized catch phrases in the past. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 256, 12 P.3d 246 (Colo. 2000).

“Term limits” is not a catch phrase. In re Ballot Title 2005-2006 No. 75, 138 P.3d 267 (Colo. 2006).

“Criminal conduct” is not a catch phrase. The phrase does not contain an appeal to emotion that would prejudice a vote; it is simply a descriptive term. In re Ballot Title 2007-2008 No. 57, 185 P.3d 142 (Colo. 2008).

“Right of health care choice” is not an impermissible catch phrase. The phrase is a descriptive term that presents the issue to voters in a straightforward manner, and though somewhat generic, the phrase is followed directly by language in the title that clarifies and narrows its meaning. In re Title, Ballot Title, Sub. Cl. for 2009-2010 No. 45, 234 P.3d 642 (Colo. 2010).

The phrase “statewide setback” is not an impermissible catch phrase. It tracks the language of the text of the proposed initiative, it is merely descriptive, and it neither evokes emotion nor engenders voter confusion. In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 Nos. 85, 86, 87, 2014 CO 62, 328 P.3d 136.
 
D. When Ballot Title and Submission Clause Fixed.

The titles and submission clause of an initiated measure were fixed and determined within the meaning of this section on the date that the three designated officials convened and fixed a title, ballot title and submission clause, and not on the date that the right of appeal from their decision expired. Baker v. Bosworth, 122 Colo. 356, 222 P.2d 416 (1950).
 
E. Brevity Required.

Ballot title and submission clause of proposed initiative measure must be brief. In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 200 Colo. 141, 613 P.2d 867 (1980).

The board is given considerable discretion in resolving the interrelated problems of length, complexity, and clarity in designating a title and submission clause. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning State Personnel Sys., 691 P.2d 1121 (Colo. 1984); Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

If a choice must be made between brevity and a fair description of essential features of a proposal, where a complex measure embracing many different topics is involved and the titles and summary cannot be abbreviated by omitting references to the measure’s salient features, the decision must be made in favor of full disclosure to the registered electors. Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

Ballot title and submission clause did not comply with the brevity requirement where the ballot title and submission clause for proposed constitutional amendment, as fixed by the administrative board, contained 369 words while the proposed amendment itself contained but 505 words. Cook v. Baker, 121 Colo. 187, 214 P.2d 787 (1950).
 
F. Scope of Review.

The court’s scope of review is limited to ensuring that the title, ballot title and submission clause and summary fairly reflect the proposed initiative so that petition signers and voters will not be misled. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

There is a presumption in favor of decisions made by the title board. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Board’s actions are presumptively valid, and this presumption precludes the court from second-guessing every decision the board makes in setting a title. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 235(a), 3 P.3d 1219 (Colo. 2000).

The court gives great deference to the board’s drafting authority. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 80, 961 P.2d 1120 (Colo. 1998); In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

It is not the function of the court to rewrite the titles and summary to achieve the best possible statement of the proposed measure’s intent, and the court will reverse the board’s action in setting the titles only when the language chosen is clearly misleading. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

While subsection (3)(b) requires that the title “correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning” of the initiative, it is not the court’s role to rephrase the language adopted by the board to obtain the most precise and exact title. Matter of Increase of Taxes on Tob. Prod. Initiative, 756 P.2d 995 (Colo. 1988); In re Ballot Title 2007-2008 No. 61, 184 P.3d 747 (Colo. 2008).

The title board’s function is extremely important in light of the court’s limited scope of review of the board’s actions, and the court will not address the merits of a proposed initiative, interpret its language, or predict its application. In re Proposed Election Reform Amend., 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993); In re Proposed Initiative on Fair Treatment of Injured Workers, 873 P.2d 718 (Colo. 1994); In re Petition on Campaign & Political Fin., 877 P.2d 311 (Colo. 1994); Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 104, 987 P.2d 249 (Colo. 1999).

Court will not rewrite the titles or submission clause for the board. Also, the court will reverse the board’s action in preparing the title or submission clause only if the title and submission clause contain a material omission, misstatement, or misrepresentation. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 62, 961 P.2d 1077 (Colo. 1998); In re Ballot Title 1990-2000 No. 29, 972 P.2d 257 (Colo. 1999).

Not within the purview of the court to determine the efficacy, construction, or future application of an initiative in the process of reviewing the action of the title board in setting titles for a proposed initiative. Such matters are more appropriately addressed in a proper case if the voters approve the initiative. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 235(a), 3 P.3d 1219 (Colo. 2000).

Upon review, supreme court treats actions of board as presumptively valid. Supreme court will not address the merits of a proposed initiative, interpret its language, or predict its application. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(b), 245(c), 245(d), and 245(e), 1 P.3d 720 (Colo. 2000); In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g), 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000).

Title board has considerable discretion in setting the titles for a ballot initiative, the supreme court will employ all legitimate presumptions in favor of the propriety of the board’s actions, and the board’s designation of a title will only be reversed if the title is insufficient, unfair, or misleading. In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 3, 2012 CO 25, 274 P.3d 562.

Presumption of validity precludes supreme court from second-guessing every decision board makes in setting titles. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(b), 245(c), 245(d), and 245(e), 1 P.3d 720 (Colo. 2000); In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g), 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000).

The title board need not set the best possible title. The supreme court affords the title board great deference in the exercise of its drafting authority and will reverse the title board’s decision in setting a title only if the title is insufficient, unfair, or misleading. In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 45, 2012 CO 26, 274 P.3d 576.

Supreme court’s review of title board’s actions is limited, and the court will not address the merits of a proposed initiative or construe the future legal effects of an initiative. The court will, however, when necessary, characterize a proposal sufficiently to enable review of the board’s actions and to determine whether the initiative contains incongruous or hidden purposes or bundles incongruous measures under a broad theme. In re Ballot Title 2005-2006 No. 55, 138 P.3d 273 (Colo. 2006).
 
V.SUMMARY AND FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT.

Impartiality required in summary. The summary prepared by the board must be true and impartial statement of intent of proposed law and must not be an argument, nor likely to create prejudice either for or against the measure. In re Branch Banking Initiative, 200 Colo. 85, 612 P.2d 96 (1980); In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 200 Colo. 141, 613 P.2d 867 (1980); Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

And summary is to include estimate of any fiscal impact upon the state or any of its political subdivisions with an explanation thereof. In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 200 Colo. 141, 613 P.2d 867 (1980); Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

Unless fiscal impact cannot be determined. Where the fiscal impact upon local government could not be determined because of the variables involved, a definitive statement concerning fiscal impact is not required. Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

School districts and school boards are “political subdivisions of the state” as to which fiscal impact is to be estimated. Matter of Title Concerning Sch. Impact Fees, 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998).

Purpose of including fiscal impact statement in the summary is to inform the electorate of fiscal implications of proposed measure. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

In formulating a fiscal impact statement, the board is not limited to information submitted by the department of local affairs or the office of state planning and budgeting. Nor is the board required to accept at face value the information provided to it. Percy v. Hayes, 954 P.2d 1063 (Colo. 1998).

Faced with conflicting evidence regarding the fiscal impact, the board’s determination that the proposed measure “may” have a negative fiscal impact on certain local governments was consistent with its statutory authority. Percy v. Hayes, 954 P.2d 1063 (Colo. 1998).

The fiscal impact statement was adequate, and the title board was within its discretion in not speculating in that statement about whether the transportation commission would impose tolls. Matter of Proposed Initiative 1997-98 No. 10, 943 P.2d 897 (Colo. 1997).

The fiscal impact statement adequately described impact because it estimated current costs, included a one time cost for a water pump prior to the effective date of the initiative, included no speculation of the water district’s obligation to the department of wildlife for fish and wildlife expenses, and provided an estimate for possible litigation costs because of the measure. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Fiscal impact statement not incomplete or inaccurate because it did not include any long range estimate of the costs of elections through the year 2013. The title board was not required to provide a further elaboration of the costs through the year 2013, even though the department of local affairs presented an estimate in a letter. The board had discretion to omit the estimate from the fiscal impact statement. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

The board is not required to determine the exact fiscal impact of each proposed measure; if the board finds that the proposed initiative will have a fiscal impact on the state or any of its political subdivisions, the summary must include an estimate and explanation. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

The board may properly exercise its judgment in concluding that the fiscal impact upon local government cannot be determined because of the variables involved. In re Title Pertaining to Sale of Table Wine in Grocery Stores, 646 P.2d 916 (Colo. 1982); Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

The board may properly find that certain costs are indeterminate because of the variables and uncertainties involved. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255, 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000).

The title board is not required to spell out every detail of a proposed initiative in order to convey its meaning accurately and fairly. Only where the language chosen is clearly misleading will the court revise the title board’s formulation. Matter of Ballot Title 1997-98 No. 74, 962 P.2d 927 (Colo. 1998).

Omission of a sentence describing the proposed initiative’s legislative declaration does not render the summary clearly misleading to the electorate. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 265, 3 P.3d 1210 (Colo. 2000).

A separate explanation of the fiscal impact of a measure is not required when the fiscal impact cannot be reasonably determined from the materials submitted to the board due to the variables or uncertainties inherent in the particular issue. In re Title Pertaining to Tax Reform, 797 P.2d 1283 (Colo. 1990); Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994); In re Proposed Initiative on “Trespass – Streams With Flowing Water”, 910 P.2d 21 (Colo. 1996); Matter of Proposed Initiative 1997-98 No. 10, 943 P.2d 897 (Colo. 1997).

Given the disparate conclusions regarding the fiscal impact of the measure, the board acted within its authority in making the decision to include in the summary the statement that the net effect of the changes on state or local governments was not known. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994).

If provisions of measure do not produce a separate and conflicting impact and the aggregate impact is known, each provision of the proposed amendment need not be addressed individually in the statement of fiscal impact. Where the board cannot determine the aggregate fiscal impact of a proposed measure, but has adequate information to assess the impact of a particular provision, the board should state with specificity which provision will have fiscal impacts that are capable of being estimated and which are truly indeterminate. In re Petition on Campaign and Political Finance, 877 P.2d 311 (Colo. 1994).

Explanation of fiscal impact not required given the complexity of the issues and uncertainty expressed by the department of revenue. The board’s conclusion that the fiscal impact was indeterminate was reasonable. Matter of the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the City of Antonito, 873 P.2d 733 (Colo. 1994).

Lack of specificity held justified. The Board has no independent fact-finding ability and its choice of language was judicious and within its authority. The fiscal impact could not reasonably be determined because of inherent uncertainties in the text of the amendment. In Re Prop. Init. “Fair Fishing”, 877 P.2d 1355 (Colo. 1994).

Statement of fiscal impact was insufficient since, although the board was not required to include a definitive estimate of any fiscal impact on the state or its political subdivisions when that impact cannot be determined because of the variables involved, where the indeterminacy resulted from the multitude of provisions having separate and sometimes conflicting fiscal impacts producing an indeterminate aggregate impact and the board had sufficient information to assess the fiscal impact of each provision in isolation, the board should state with specificity which provisions will have fiscal impacts which are capable of being estimated, and which are truly indeterminate. Matter of Election Reform Amendment, 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993).

Board has discretion in exercising its judgment in how to best communicate that a proposed measure will have a fiscal impact on government without creating prejudice for or against the measure. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

Statement of fiscal impact was insufficient where it did not include estimates of the initiative’s impact on school boards. Matter of Title Concerning Sch. Impact Fees, 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998).

Fiscal impact statement was inaccurate description of the fiscal impact of initiative where the office of state planning and budgeting prepared two cost estimates based on two possible scenarios. Matter of Proposed Initiative 1996-17, 920 P.2d 798 (Colo. 1996).

Request for agency assistance at board’s discretion. The decision of whether and from which of the two state agencies to request information is within the discretion of the board. Spelts v. Klausing, 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982).

Summary need not mention the effect of the amendment on an existing statute addressing the same or a similar subject as the proposed amendment. In re Mineral Prod. Tax Initiative, 644 P.2d 20 (Colo. 1982).

Board is not required to explain meaning or potential effects of proposed initiative on the present statutory scheme in the summary. Matter of Title, Ballot Title S. Clause, 875 P.2d 207 (Colo. 1994).

The board is not required to provide lengthy explanations of every portion of a proposed constitutional amendment as overly detailed titles and submission clauses could by their very length confuse voters. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning State Personnel Sys., 691 P.2d 1121 (Colo. 1984).

Mere ambiguity of a summary, if not clearly misleading, does not require disapproval by court. In re Proposed Initiative Concerning State Personnel Sys., 691 P.2d 1121 (Colo. 1984).

Board may be challenged when misleading summary of amendment prejudicial. A misleading summary of the fiscal impact of a proposed amendment is likely to create an unfair prejudice against the measure and is a sufficient basis, under this section, for challenging the board’s action. In re An Initiated Constitutional Amendment, 199 Colo. 409, 609 P.2d 631 (1980).

The titles and summary were not misleading since they tracked the language of the initiative, and any problems in the interpretation of the measure or its constitutionality were beyond the functions assigned to the title board and outside the scope of the court’s review of the title board’s actions. Matter of Proposed Initiative 1997-98 No. 10, 943 P.2d 897 (Colo. 1997).

Proposed initiative violates the single-subject requirement because it (1) provides for tax cuts and (2) imposes mandatory reductions in state spending on state programs. Matter of Proposed Initiative 1997-98 No. 86, 962 P.2d 245 (Colo. 1998).

Use of the word “of” in the initiative summary instead of the word “by” does not create confusion on how directors of a board are selected. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Failure of title and summary to specify which taxpayers would receive a refund if one is necessary does not render the title or summary confusing. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

Title summary not misleading because it identified uncertainties of the effect of the measure by noting that a surplus may be created by the payments under the initiative and any surplus may be refunded to the taxpayers under TABOR, article X, § 20, of the Colorado Constitution. Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105, 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998).

 

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 [Contribution]

(a) (I) The payment, loan, pledge, gift, or advance of money, or guarantee of a loan, made to any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee, or political party;

(II) Any payment made to a third party for the benefit of any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee, or political party;

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any candidate committee, issue committee, political committee, small donor committee or political party;

(IV) Anything of value given, directly or indirectly, to a candidate for the purpose of promoting the candidate’s nomination, retention, recall, or election.

(b) “Contribution” does not include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, candidate committee, political committee, small donor committee, issue committee, or political party; a transfer by a membership organization of a portion of a member’s dues to a small donor committee or political committee sponsored by such membership organization; or payments by a corporation or labor organization for the costs of establishing, administering, and soliciting funds from its own employees or members for a political committee or small donor committee.

Section 2(5) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

 

C.R.S. § 1-45-103 further adds:

(b) “Contribution” includes, with regard to a contribution for which the contributor receives compensation or consideration of less than equivalent value to such contribution, including, but not limited to, items of perishable or nonpermanent value, goods, supplies, services, or participation in a campaign-related event, an amount equal to the value in excess of such compensation or consideration as determined by the candidate committee.

(c) “Contribution” also includes:

(I) Any payment, loan, pledge, gift, advance of money, or guarantee of a loan made to any political organization;

(II) Any payment made to a third party on behalf of and with the knowledge of the political organization; or

(III) The fair market value of any gift or loan of property made to any political organization.

C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [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.

Definition [Political subdivision]

A governing subdivision of the state, including counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [State or any of its political subdivisions]

The state of Colorado and its agencies or departments, as well as the political subdivisions within this state including counties, municipalities, school districts, special districts, and any public or quasi-public body that receives a majority of its funding from the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. Section 2 of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

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 [Spending]

Funds expended influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and includes, without limitation, any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value by any political organization, a contract, promise, or agreement to expend funds made or entered into by any political organization, or any electioneering communication by any political organization. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Secretary]

The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.

Cases

colorado Cases

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment

Citation: 682 P.2d 480 (Colo. 1984)

Year: 1984

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/cf1fe8d3966a3a0c4e5d8492753bbc56

Case Summary: Holding that title and ballot title and submission clause impermissibly failed to reflect certain important limiting language contained in the actual proposed amendment; title, ballot title, and submission clause were not defective for failure to describe administrative consequences of adopting a core curriculum; and testimony presented to Board concerning infinite possibilities and  economic complexities any specific legislation implementing the amendment might or might not create supported Board's conclusion that fiscal impact of proposed amendment could not be determined.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 255

Citation: 4 P.3d 485 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/67edcad53f3fcce43fbc32bdf1e32b25

Case Summary: Holding that former statutory deadline for filing fiscal impact statement was not jurisdictional; late submission of fiscal impact statement substantially complied with that statutory deadline; objectors' filing of petitions for review did not preclude the board from correcting clerical errors in the summary; titles and summary did not violate single-subject requirement; titles and summary were not misleading; and fiscal impact statement was adequate.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title & Submission Clause

Citation: 877 P.2d 853 (1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/19256917a4b3ef71229342b3f9d03304

Case Summary:

  1. We affirmed the ruling of the board in approving the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary for a proposed initiated amendment to the Colorado Constitution relating to automobile insurance.
  2. In performing its statutory duty, the Board need only reference the essential features of a proposed initiative in preparing titles and ballot titles and submission clauses. We will not interfere with the Board's choice of language if the words selected clearly and concisely reflect the central features of the proposal and will reject language only if it is inaccurate or misleading with respect to the meaning and intent of the initiative.
  3. Neither the board nor this court can choose between the varying possible interpretations of the status of revenues ultimately collected.
  4. In this case, the documents prepared by the Board appropriately distinguish between drivers who purchase private insurance and those who do not and therefore will be covered by the insurance pool. The documents are not misleading.
  5. We find the language adopted by the Board to be sufficiently concise and to convey appropriately the central features of the proposal to the electorate

Case Name: Matter of Election Reform Amendment

Citation: 852 P.2d 28 (Colo. 1993)

Year: 1993

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/f3b723f82e82df2a9f164c2d1be57f69

Case Summary: Holding that initiative title setting board had authority to set title, ballot title, and submission clause in summary of proposed constitutional amendment; question of whether proposed initiative would appear on either of two election ballots was premature; titles set by board were insufficient in that they were not specific enough; and summary was insufficient in that statement of fiscal impact was not sufficiently detailed but was otherwise sufficient.

Case Name: Brownlow v. Wunsch

Citation: 103 Colo. 120, 83 P.2d 775 (1938)

Year: 1938

Case URL: https://perma.cc/M4QQ-2T6L

Case Summary:

  1. Colo. Stat. Ann. ch. 86, § 6 (1935), states that, in case an initiative petition be declared insufficient in form or number of signatures of qualified electors, it may be withdrawn by a majority in number of the persons representing the signers of such petition, and may, within 15 days thereafter, be amended or additional names signed thereto as in the first instance, and refiled as an original petition. The amended petition here was timely refiled under § 6. The six-month limitation for the original petition did not apply.
  2. § 6 and Colo. Const. art. V, § 1 intended that the identity of the affiant as being a qualified elector might be established prima facie by a recital to that effect in the affidavit. It is certain under the express words of the Constitution that a petition so verified shall be prima facie evidence that the signatures thereon are genuine and the persons signing the same are electors.
  3. To the extent that the fraud charged in a protest of an initiative petition is premised on advertisement for circulators and the latter being paid for names procured, it is sufficient to say that this practice is not prohibited by either the Constitution or statutes.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative Concerning “Automobile Insurance Coverage”

Citation: 877 P.2d 853 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/19256917a4b3ef71229342b3f9d03304

Case Summary: Holding that title, ballot title, submission clause, and summary were not misleading and that documents prepared by Board were not ambiguous.

Case Name: Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 105

Citation: 961 P.2d 1092 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/71c961029fc35b606615f2b161c4bd6d

Case Summary: Holding that initiative to require water conservation district to make payments for the benefit of state and local school districts based on use of basin water did not violate single-subject requirement; titles and summary for such initiative were not misleading or confusing; board did not abuse its discretion in changing statutory governance provisions of the water conservation district; titles and summary for initiative to add a statutory requirement that water conservation districts refund monies received from court judgments for attorney fees and court costs was not misleading; and “refund to taxpayers” was not a prohibited catch phrase.

Case Name: Hayes v. Ottke

Citation: 293 P.3d 551 (2013)

Year: 2013

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/2d095611dbee9eac357ef535a0ebc9d5

Case Summary: Because section 1-40-106(4)(a), C.R.S. (2012), requires "[e]ach designated representative" to appear at "any title board meeting at which the designated representative's ballot issue is considered," and section 1-40-106(4)(d), C.R.S. (2012), states that "[t]he title board shall not set a title for a ballot issue if either designated representative of the proponents fails to appear at a title board meeting," the Title Board lacks authority to set title or take action with respect to challenged titles where fewer than both designated representatives appear at a rehearing.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative Concerning Drinking Age

Citation: 691 P.2d 1127 (Colo. 1984)

Year: 1984

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/6dc9b92cdc0e841cfa3a8414a2b8f5e2

Case Summary: Holding that failure of the titles to mention that the act would prohibit persons under 21 from possessing fermented malt beverages in any store, public place, state property, or motor vehicle on a public way did not make the titles fatally misleading; consumption exception for persons who are 18 years of age and older prior to July 1, 1985, was not improperly summarized in the titles; failure of the titles to mention the change of prohibited times of sale of fermented malt beverages was within Board's discretion; and the titles and submission clause were adequate to meet statutory requirements of fairness and clear expression of the true intent of the proposed law.

Case Name: Amendment to Const. Section 2 to Art. VII

Citation: 900 P.2d 104 (Colo. 1995)

Year: 1995

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/a85764476ef05b1b2359d19672debb3d

Case Summary: Holding that initiative dealing with petition procedures impermissibly encompassed more than one single subject and that the title selected by the board was not a clear, concise summary of the initiative.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary with Regard to a Proposed Petition for an Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Colorado Adding Subsection (10) to Section 20 of Article X (Amend Tabor 25)

Citation: 900 P.2d 121 (Colo. 1995)

Year: 1995

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/73b3c4bd43cf74057fbdb20ac0c18cc9

Case Summary: Holding that Secretary of State and Attorney General had authority to delegate their duty to serve on the Title Board to others, but that an initiative covering a tax credit and procedure for future ballot titles violated single subject requirement.

Case Name: In re Petition on Campaign and Political Finance

Citation: 877 P.2d 311 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/5516263ef695dcebfe02af30b17fe6cf

Case Summary: Holding that court would not consider challenges based on alleged defects in initiated measure itself and that language chosen by the Initiative Title Setting Board was adequate.

Case Name: Matter of Title, Ballot Title, Etc.

Citation: 850 P.2d 144 (Colo. 1993)

Year: 1993

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/36cd0c393ebf4ec0bc56e5b964b75041

Case Summary: Holding that Title Setting Board had jurisdiction to designate and fix title, ballot title, submission clause, and summary; question of when measure would appear on ballot was premature; Board did not use improper catch phrase or slogan in summary; and fiscal impact statement was sufficient.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 235(a)

Citation: 3 P.3d 1219 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/86f3129eea33291d1fc5a8c7e87425c1

Case Summary: Holding that initiative to add state a constitutional amendment for conservation of natural lands and open space did not violate the single-subject requirement and that the titles were clear regarding the meaning of “base developed area” and the identification of the annual nature of  growth limitations.

Case Name: In re An Initiated Constitutional Amendment

Citation: 609 P.2d 631 (Colo. 1980)

Year: 1980

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ea7ca7db783aecbe2f97e6c07227d3c3

Case Summary: Holding that calculation by state office of planning and budgeting of cost for “average hearing” regarding state “classified employee” was insufficient basis for estimating fiscal impact in view of many variables which could affect cost of processing dismissals; therefore, statement in summary that estimated cost of each hearing was $996 and that other net fiscal impact was indeterminable must be deleted and replaced by a statement that the fiscal impact of proposed amendment could not be determined.

Case Name: Spelts v. Klausing

Citation: 649 P.2d 303 (Colo. 1982)

Year: 1982

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/e4b828959488e9832ab31f883aae6aab

Case Summary: Holding that summary did not fail to explain the fiscal impact of the initiative; references to the “Southern Colorado Economic Development District” in the titles, summary, and submission clause were not misleading; titles, summary, and submission clause were not invalid for failure to accurately reflect the true intent of the initiative; and the Board did not act in excess of its jurisdiction by deleting a paragraph from the initiative.

Case Name: In re Second Initiated Constitutional Amendment

Citation: 613 P.2d 867 (1980)

Year: 1980

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/c09f8e8cd5a2ec29eef8a16d3c41ab3b?query=613%20P[...]

Case Summary:

  1. The people have reserved to themselves the right of initiative in Article V, Section 1, of the Colorado Constitution, and the duties of the Board with respect to initiatives are in sections 1-40-101, et seq., C.R.S. 1973 .
  2. The initiated measures' title as set by the Board must be proper and fair, and must correctly and fairly express the true intent and meaning of the proposed measure. The ballot title and submission clause must be brief, and the summary must be a fair, concise, true and impartial statement of the intent of the proposed measure. The summary may not be an argument for or against the measure, nor can it be likely to create prejudice for or against the measure. The summary is to include an estimate of any fiscal impact upon the state or any of its political subdivisions with an explanation thereof
  3. We agree that there has been substantial compliance with the statutory prerequisites because the proponents are not required to accept  any comments made by the directors and because the directors indicated they had no further comments.
  4. Our review of the record confirms that  the language chosen by the Board reflects the true meaning and intent of the initiative.
  5. The Board correctly found that the fiscal impact of the proposed amendment cannot be determined because of the many variables involved.
  6. We affirm the Board's denial of the motion for rehearing on each of the Petitioners' contentions.

Case Name: Byrne v. Title Bd.

Citation: 907 P.2d 570 (Colo. 1995)

Year: 1995

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/10a9b23b4a34f9379df26904afb0d312

Case Summary: Section 1-40-106(1), 1B C.R.S. (1995 Supp.), states that "the last meeting [of the Title Board] shall be held no later than the third Wednesday in May in the year in which the measure is to be voted on." Section 1-40-107(1) states that "if the titles and summary protested were set at the last meeting in May, the motion shall be heard within forty-eight hours after the motion is filed." Id. Because the titles, submission clause, and summary for Amend Tabor No. 25 were set at its last meeting in May 1995, we hold that the Title Board erred by not hearing the petitioners' motion for rehearing within forty-eight hours after the motion was filed, as expressly provided by section 1-40-107(1), 1B C.R.S.(1995 Supp.).

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 45

Citation: 274 P.3d 576 (Colo. 2012)

Year: 2012

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/298a7fefdc0df4e3da8b1c118173f233

Case Summary: Holding that proposed ballot initiative to expand the scope of public control over all of the state's water did not violate single-subject requirement and that titles were sufficiently clear to satisfy clear title requirement.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative on Parental Notification of Abortions for Minors

Citation: 794 P.2d 238 (Colo. 1990)

Year: 1990

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/81b6a17dfef9ba71bc913ed985e8e280

Case Summary: Holding that proposed initiative's title, ballot title, and submission clause were inadequate; proposed initiative would have required that notice be given to an unemancipated child's parents or guardians prior to that child procuring an abortion.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2005-2006 No. 73

Citation: 135 P.3d 736 (Colo. 2006)

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/3857c0beaead04995fbc8be6ac2acbaa

Case Summary: Holding that enforcement provision was not a separate subject in violation of the single subject rule; titles were fair, sufficient, and clear; and finally, titles did not misstate the scope of the initiative.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 256

Citation: 12 P.3d 246 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/2b12669d64aa50a40b5f4e0d4980d684?query=In%20re[...]

Case Summary: Holding that proponents' amendments to the original draft of the initiative petition were not required to be resubmitted to the directors of the legislative council; initiative to add “Citizen Management of Growth” provisions to the state Constitution did not violate the single-subject requirement; and titles and summary were not misleading.

Case Name: Matter of Title, Ballot Title and Sub. Cl., and Summary for 1999-2000 No. 37

Citation: 977 P.2d 845 (Colo. 1999)

Year: 1999

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/bd39187c4b14b91d5733176536f13105

Case Summary: Holding that proposed initiative violated State Constitution's single-subject requirement and that titles and summary designated by the Board were unclear; initiative created a tax cut, imposed new criteria for voter approval of revenue and spending increases, and imposed likely reductions in state spending on state programs.

Case Name: City of Glendale v. Buchanan

Citation: 195 Colo. 267, 578 P.2d 221 (1978)

Year: 1978

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/87a59050d5dfddbcbbb6c58b3f4bbb66

Case Summary: Holding that evidence that one voter mistakenly voted for an amendment because he was misled by ballot title was not sufficient to void initiated amendment; challenged constitutional amendments were not void as being inconsistent; and invalidating voter-approved constitutional amendment on ground of misleading title could not be justified absent good cause as to why amendment was not challenged before the election.

Case Name: Noland v. Hayward

Citation: 192 P. 657 (Colo. 1920)

Year: 1920

Case Summary: We are of the opinion that the initiative petition in question contains a submission clause, within the meaning of the act of 1919, -- that the ballot title, together with the words "yes" and "no" and the blank spaces opposite thereto, may be deemed to be such submission clause.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative Concerning State Personnel Sys.

Citation: 691 P.2d 1121 (Colo. 1984)

Year: 1984

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/81e66ba4d75d097081d6a84ae1e3ec06

Case Summary: Holding that description of effect of proposal on director's ability to authorize temporary employment was ambiguous but not so clearly misleading as to require disapproval; Board acted within its discretion in deciding not to describe specific provision deleting present constitutional provision requiring standards of efficient service to be identical for all persons having like duties; and Board's decision to refrain from describing feature of proposal repealing constitutional provision requiring General Assembly to make adequate appropriations for administration of state personnel system was not fatal.

Case Name: Matter of Title, Ballot Title for 1997-98 No. 62

Citation: 961 P.2d 1077 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/098c575ef875b336c8b28d313cfe1006

Case Summary: Holding that appeal from title and summary setting action of Board must be filed within five days of Board's denial of rehearing motion; petitioner's appeal was timely filed within five days, exclusive of intervening weekend; and title, ballot title, submission clause, and summary of proposed initiative did not contain material and significant omissions, misstatements, or misrepresentations.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(b), 245(c), 245(d), and 245(e)

Citation: 1 P.3d 720 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/74bd0850c206e05e4adb37b0ceb338f7

Case Summary: Holding that initiatives did not violate the single-subject requirement by including provisions converting magistrate positions into constitutional judicial officers or by possibly requiring funding to support the creation of four-year-term magistrate positions.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g)

Citation: 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/07297fada62b7c2fce15ade2e93b8825?query=1%20P.3[...]

Case Summary: Holding that provision saying that magistrates, commissioners, referees, and other persons who were not judges could not serve without written consent of all parties to a case did not violate the single-subject requirement; repeal of constitutional provisions regarding jurisdiction and expansion of probate and juvenile courts did not violate the single-subject requirement;  titles clearly expressed the exemption for Denver County judges; titles were not misleading in referring to the definition of “judge”; and summaries adequately described the procedure for retention or removal by election.

Case Name: In re Title Pertaining to Sale of Table Wine in Grocery Stores

Citation: 646 P.2d 916 (Colo. 1982)

Year: 1982

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/15aa1147bbea6719fc9c8ac74eb67f43

Case Summary: Holding that the language of the title and the ballot title and submission clause were proper, even if specific wording was not found in text of the proposed initiative; use of the phrase “after licensing” in the title and ballot title and submission clause accurately reflected the true meaning and intent of the proposed law; the summary was a true and impartial statement of the intent of the proposed law; and the Board obtained sufficient evidence to prepare an adequate fiscal impact statement and the fiscal impact statement was true and impartial.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Unsafe Workplace Environment

Citation: 830 P.2d 1031 (Colo. 1992)

Year: 1992

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/533e80995f4aec5e764cf5d9e6abd295

Case Summary: Holding that title, ballot title, submission clause, and summary reflected intent and central features of amendment despite lack of language differentiating entities to which initiative would apply; Board's conclusion that fiscal impact was indeterminable was reasonable; and two members of three-member Board had authority to rehear challenge to title, ballot title, submission clause, and summary.

Case Name: Matter of Ballot Title 1997-98 No. 74

Citation: 962 P.2d 927 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/0fa640bff35287ce44c9b70666e9cc06

Case Summary: Holding that proposed initiative to impose “school impact fees” on newly constructed housing encompassed only one subject and that language used by the Title Board in setting the titles fairly and accurately conveyed the proposal's central ramifications.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the Town of Burlington

Citation: 830 P.2d 1023 (Colo. 1992)

Year: 1992

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/9ac96c72c8051af580e3283c91591a09

Case Summary: Holding that language set by Board fairly and correctly expressed true intent of initiative and adequately informed petition signers and voters of its effects and that challenge was not frivolous.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in Manitou Springs

Citation: 826 P.2d 1241 (Colo. 1992)

Year: 1992

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/3064026e539e7ea296224a1ef03e81c4

Case Summary: So long as the title, the ballot title and submission clause, and the summary accurately reflect the central features of the initiated measure in a clear and concise manner, we will not interfere with the Board's choice of language. Nothing in the record persuades us that the Board's choice of language in the title and in the ballot title and submission clause is in any way misrepresentative of the true intent and meaning of the proposed constitutional amendment.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 No. 129

Citation: 333 P.3d 101 (Colo. 2014)

Year: 2014

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/e7b846fddf796d5bd02a531b69cd37fb

Case Summary: We hold that Initiative #129 contains a single subject: the definition of a "fee." We also hold that the title clearly expresses Initiative #129's single subject. We thus affirm the action of the Title Board.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative on Transf. of Real Estate

Citation: 611 P.2d 981 (1980)

Year: 1980

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/15ba190a4c67d85c18cc363d737bac26

Case Summary: Holding that the failure of the title, summary, and submission clause to state that rights and prohibitions stated in the amendment were not applicable to federally chartered savings and loan associations was not improper; whether the proposed amendment would have retroactive application was a matter to be adjudicated in the future; failure to mention the existence of a statute addressing the same or similar subject as that of the proposed amendment had no effect on the validity of the title, summary, and submission clause; Board's failure to include language distinguishing sales “subject to” existing financing from “assumptions” of existing financing did not affect the accuracy of the title, summary, and submission clause; the title, summary, and submission clause did not contain language likely to create prejudice in favor of the amendment where that language was taken verbatim from the proposed amendment; and the record supported the Board's statement in the summary that the proposed amendment would have no direct fiscal impact on state government.

Case Name: Matter of Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning the Fair Treatment of Injured Workers Amendment

Citation: 873 P.2d 718 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/d48cae3be4f68a6a933c7d8dcd3d597f

Case Summary: We conclude that the title, ballot title and submission clause, and summary as fixed by the Board fairly and correctly express the true intent of the proposed amendment. We also hold that the title and submission clause need not include reference to the fact that the initiative eventually may be determined to conflict with a separate proposed initiative selected for the same election. Lastly, we conclude that the Board did not use a catch phrase or slogan in the title, ballot title and submission clause, or in the summary. Accordingly, we affirm the ruling of the Board.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2007-2008 No. 61

Citation: 184 P.3d 747 (Colo. 2008)

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8150474823b08873ec9f5213f0e24478

Case Summary: Holding that proposed initiative seeking to prohibit discrimination and preferential treatment did not violate single subject requirement; the title of proposed initiative fairly and correctly expressed the meaning of the initiative; and the title did not conflict with other proposed initiative.

Case Name: Matter of the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment Concerning Limited Gaming in the City of Antonito

Citation: 873 P.2d 733 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/a2a850be11d4024615318fc48f2d9e7d

Case Summary: Holding that signatures collected for an initiative during pendency of appeal were not valid when order in which material was presented in title, submission, and summary was misleading as to the scope of the initiative.

Case Name: In Re Prop. Init. “Fair Fishing”

Citation: 877 P.2d 1355 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/57088d2ec1b6eb83c1f1d2d880bad5a8

Case Summary: Because the title and submission clause set forth the intent of the Initiative with sufficient clarity to apprise the electorate that the amendment would create an exception to the law of trespass for individuals who are occupying a flowing, freshwater, nonnavigable stream, we affirm the ruling of the Board upholding the title and submission clause. In our view, the testimony offered at the hearing does not require a different result. The choice of language by the Board was judicious and well within its authority.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative on Water Rights

Citation: 877 P.2d 321 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/e5514ef6352cc3dcb1839f9f6057181b

Case Summary: Holding that title, submission clause, and summary accurately represented true intent of initiative, although they did not contain a definition of “strong public trust doctrine;” requirement that state defend against defining waters as part of private property was not an essential feature of initiative that had to be disclosed in title and submission clause; and Board was not required to include fiscal impact information in summary.

Case Name: In re Initiative #25A Concerning Hous. Unit Construction Limits (Percy v. Hayes)

Citation: 954 P.2d 1063 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8595099bed52c2ecc0f96f788537780d

Case Summary: Holding that the Title Board had jurisdiction to set the titles and summary of an initiative because of time constraints limiting their review, and the final titles and summary fairly expressed the initiative's intent and meaning despite their complexity. Also, the Board provided a sufficient fiscal impact statement because the proposed initiative may have negatively impacted some local governments.

Case Name: Blake v. King

Citation: 185 P.3d 142 (Colo. 2008)

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/2d73b8420e54ed7ffcf6f79c5584d63d

Case Summary: We conclude that Initiative # 57 contains a single subject in accordance with the Colorado Constitution. Further, we find that the titles set by the Title Board are fair and accurate, and do not contain an impermissible catch phrase. Finally, we determine that because the proponents' amendments to the measure were made in direct response to comments from the directors of the Legislative Council, the initiative was not required to be resubmitted to the directors and the Office of Legislative Legal Services prior to its submission to the Title Board. Accordingly, we affirm the action of the Title Board.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2011-2012 No. 3

Citation: 274 P.3d 562 (Colo. 2012)

Year: 2012

Case URL: https://perma.cc/YRF2-A5JM

Case Summary: Holding that proposed public "rights in the waters of natural streams” ballot initiative did not violate single-subject requirement and that titles for initiative were sufficiently clear to satisfy constitutional clear title requirement.

Case Name: In re Title Pertaining to “Tax Reform”

Citation: 797 P.2d 1283 (Colo. 1990)

Year: 1990

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/12156fcd3b3452c9915392f242888373

Case Summary: Holding that an advisory board must provide additional procedure, and scrutiny, before voting commences on a proposed ballot initiative to amend the state constitution. This includes providing additional clarity on the financial impact of the proposal due to the initiative's effects on state taxes.

Case Name: Jennings v. Morrison

Citation: 117 Colo. 363 (Colo. 1947)

Year: 1947

Case URL: https://perma.cc/7BGV-DNX6

Case Summary: It is now ordered by the court that said stipulation be filed and, conforming therewith, the court finds that respondents were in error in not including in said title as fixed by them the words so agreed upon and above italicized, or words of the same import. It is therefore ordered that said title as so amended be, and the same hereby is, approved.

Case Name: Matter of Proposed Initiative 1996-17

Citation: 920 P.2d 798 (Colo. 1996)

Year: 1996

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/35406e720c3f9963fa0710f1b2005f2a

Case Summary: Holding that initiative titles and summary were misleading in that they failed to disclose that initiative would affect only the six-county Denver metropolitan area and that  fiscal impact statement in summary was inaccurate.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 No. 258(A)

Citation: 4 P.3d 1094 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8edd8bc3b589048e733f7be65d8030ac

Case Summary: Holding that elimination of school boards' powers to require bilingual education was not a separate subject violating the single-subject requirement; titles and summary were materially defective in failing to summarize the provision that no school district or school could be required to offer a bilingual education program; and titles that characterized initiative as requiring that all children in Colorado public schools be taught English “as rapidly and effectively as possible” contained improper catch phrase.

Case Name: Dye v. Baker

Citation: 143 Colo. 458 (Colo. 1960)

Year: 1960

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/26f3e51d7452bbbd459ec0d14a935953

Case Summary: We do not deem it necessary to recite the several provisions of the proposal, which is more in the form of a legislative enactment than a proposed Constitutional Amendment, and appears to be a copy of the Nevada legislative enactment authorizing gambling in that state. Accordingly the matter is remanded to the Board with instructions to revise the submission clause in accordance with the foregoing.

Case Name: Henry v. Baker

Citation: 143 Colo. 461 (Colo. 1960)

Year: 1960

Case URL: https://perma.cc/G8ER-VCKF

Case Summary: We observe nothing in the title of the Act as proposed by the Board, or its submission clause as suggested by the Board, which do not fairly state the object of the amendment, save and except the words "and permitting replacement of general real estate or other taxes." appearing at the end of the submission clause. Local taxing authorities have inherent power to reduce taxes without the "permission" mentioned in the submission clause. In this respect the submission clause is disapproved and the matter is remanded to the Board with instructions to revise the submission clause by eliminating the catch phrase above quoted, which language was frankly admitted by counsel for the proponents of the amendment to be "bait."

Case Name: In People ex rel. Moore v. Perkins

Citation: 137 P. 55 (Colo. 1913)

Year: 1913

Case PDF: In People ex rel. Moore v. Perkins

Case Summary: It will be observed that the constitutional provision pertaining to the publication of the call for this election was in all respects strictly complied with

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 227 and 228

Citation: 3 P.3d 1 (Colo. 2000)

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/d082df80033670f6f7602960024ac97b?query=3%20P.3[...]

Case Summary: Holding that initiatives specifying that a marriage must be between a man and a woman to be recognized as valid did not contain more than one subject; titles and summaries were not misleading, unfair, and inaccurate; and titles and summaries did not contain an impermissible catch phrase.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2013-2014 Nos. 85, 86, 87

Citation: 328 P.3d 136 (Colo. 2014)

Year: 2014

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/0273798f2fb7d90edfc6650c9e93f51d

Case Summary: Holding that proposed initiatives, which established alternative setback distances and provided that setbacks were not considered takings under the state Constitution, satisfied the single-subject requirement; failure of titles for proposed initiatives to inform voters that initiatives did not bar takings claims under the federal Constitution did not render titles noncompliant with clear-title requirement; initiatives were not misleading in referring to the state's oil, gas, other gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide in defining the phrase “oil and gas development”; the term “statewide setback” as included in title, ballot title, and submission clauses was not an impermissible “catch phrase” and was not misleading; titles for the alternative initiatives did not conflict with one another; and titles for two alternative versions were not misleading by omitting hydraulic fracturing as one of the methods of oil and gas development to which setback requirements would apply.

Case Name: Baker v. Bosworth

Citation: 222 P.2d 416 (1950)

Year: 1950

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/3086004f15ebe53cb552d8fe07353291?query=222%20P[...]

Case Summary:  

  1. No legislation is necessary or required to put into force and effect the self-executing constitutional provisions authorizing initiative proceedings for the adoption of constitutional amendments, by eight per cent of the electorate.
  2. The phrase "at least," in reference to the number of signatures required to initiate constitutional amendments, is neither indefinite nor uncertain, and that when the constitutional minimum is reached, the petition contains all signatures necessary or required. The titles and submission clause here considered were fixed and determined within the meaning of the statute on January 31, 1950.
  3. It follows that the statute, in so far as it attempts to require more than eight per cent of the legal voters to sign petitions for the submission of initiated amendments to the Constitution, is unconstitutional and void.
  4. The petition signed by eight per cent of the qualified voters was circulated within the period specified by law.

Case Name: Cook v. Baker

Citation: 121 Colo. 187 (Colo. 1950)

Year: 1950

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/51d756c78c27d116d4e2b677be8c8edb

Case Summary: Holding that a ballot title and submission clause, as fixed by the board, failed to comply with a state statute. As a result, the court remanded with instructions for amending the board's errors.

Case Name: In re Title (Matter of Increase of Taxes on Tob. Prod. Initiative)

Citation: 756 P.2d 995 (Colo. 1988)

Year: 1988

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ceddd565b2e0f1b9f72359d08a90bc22

Case Summary: The summary prepared by the Board fairly and accurately reflects the true purport of the proposed law, and includes an adequate estimate and explanation of the fiscal impact which the proposed law would have on the state or any of its political subdivisions. We accordingly affirm the action of the Board.

Case Name: In re Ballot Title 2005-2006 No. 55

Citation: 138 P.3d 273 (Colo. 2006)

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/60ae437532343fc2ecd71abe7d4853e1

Case Summary: Holding that initiative that would amend the state constitution to prohibit government from providing any non-emergency services to persons who were not otherwise lawfully present in the United States violated the single subject rule.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title & Submission Clause, & Summary for # 26 Concerning Sch. Impact Fees

Citation: 954 P.2d 586 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/990c258d60efa69ad69cdb35f51cd1cb

Case Summary: We hold that the statute does not prohibit the Board from meeting during the summer months and, therefore, the Board possessed jurisdiction to set the titles and summary for the initiative in July and August 1997. We additionally hold that the titles and summary fairly express, without prejudice, the intent and meaning of the initiative. However, we hold that the Board's fiscal impact statement regarding the initiative is inadequate. We therefore affirm the action of the Board in part, reverse in part, and remand this matter to the Board with directions to obtain and include in its summary the required fiscal impact information concerning school districts.

Case Name: Matter of Proposed Initiative 1997-98 No. 10

Citation: 943 P.2d 897 (Colo. 1997)

Year: 1997

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/af63e4d7bf6df3d511320b975fad5d3c

Case Summary: Holding that board acted within its discretion in preparing fiscal impact statement without speculating about whether transportation commission would impose tolls; titles and summary for proposed initiative tracked language of initiative with respect to transportation programs and sources of revenue and were not misleading; and amendments to portions of proposed initiative were made in response to comments of directors of legislative council so that resubmission of amended draft to directors before submitting it to secretary of state was not required.

Case Name: In re Mineral Prod. Tax Initiative

Citation: 644 P.2d 20 (Colo. 1982)

Year: 1982

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/dba7ead0d7a90596b8ecf30325e580ee

Case Summary: Holding that it was the duty of the Initiative Title Setting Review Board to impartially summarize the stated intent of the amendment but not to argue for any certain interpretation; judicial interpretation would have to await adjudication in controversy arising in specific factual context; and summary was not shown to be inaccurate or misleading, even though it could have been more precise.

Case Name: Matter of Proposed Initiative 1997-98 No. 86

Citation: 962 P.2d 245 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/c8f4e393bb88cd7502cd6b3258eadbb5

Case Summary: Holding that initiative violated state constitution by containing multiple subjects, because initiative contained both state and local tax cuts and mandatory reductions in state spending on state programs.

Case Name: In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause and Summary for 1997-1998 #75 (Rice v. Brandon)

Citation: 960 P.2d 672 (1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/fc6dd644f70c5af9a4468b4a13c5681e

Case Summary: Holding that a title and summary were not unfair or misleading, and that a fiscal impact statement was adequate. Furthermore, the Board who approved the measure did not abuse its discretion by using the term "nonexempt well" without providing a definition for the term.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title & Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 #104 (Aisenberg v. Campbell)

Citation: 987 P.2d 249 (1999)

Year: 1999

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/85a009019fed7ff13e3c3ac79ae0a729

Case Summary: Holding that an initiative that contained more than one subject violated Article V, Section 1(5.5) of the state constitution. Furthermore, the Board who approved the initiative also failed to provide titles that correctly expressed the subject of the proposal.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title & Submission Clause, & Summary for the Proposed Initiated Constitutional Amendment “1996-3” (Armstrong v. O’Toole)

Citation: 917 P.2d 1274 (Colo. 1996)

Year: 1996

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/5f43d7dca9c2d3686fdb2f7b50f692c8

Case Summary: Holding that the proponents of a proposed measure substantially complied with the requirements of C.R.S. 1-40-105(4) when submitting an amended version of their measure to the Board for approval. The proponents also did not intend to mislead voters with the measure's technical and grammatical mistakes.  

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2013-2014 #103 (Cordero v. Doe)

Citation: 328 P.3d 127 (2014)

Year: 2014

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/80662752853a3a67fc1bce2966c08975

Case Summary: Holding that the Ballot Title Setting Board lacked authority to make a decision on a proposed initiative without a sufficient number of designated representatives present at the Title Board meeting. According to C.R.S. 1-40-106, the Board may not substitute a designated representative when the individual selected as the designated representative cannot attend the meeting.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1997-98 #30 (Outcelt v. Bruce)

Citation: 959 P.2d 822 (Colo. 1998)

Year: 1998

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/98124541db656a89789bf81779a9a6af

Case Summary: Holding that a proposed initiative contained more than one subject in violation of the Colorado Constitution, and the Title Board should have refused to fix the titles and summary.

Case Name: In re Proposed Initiative on Education Tax Refund

Citation: 823 P.2d 1353 (Colo. 1991)

Year: 1991

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/14c90f5813fa7ac20846172596e82381

Case Summary: Holding that board-prepared title would not be invalidated, because any ambiguity in the title's wording was traceable to the initiative itself.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title & Submission Clause, & Summary Pertaining to the Proposed Tobacco Tax Amendment 1994

Citation: 872 P.2d 689 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/6ab6e9feab010eaa6cf81bfeb769a335

Case Summary: Holding that, in performing its statutory duty, the Initiative Title Setting Board (Board) need not describe every feature of a proposed measure, but must consider the potential public confusion caused by misleading titles. The Court ultimately affirmed an amendment's title and summary related to a proposed tax increase on tobacco-related products.

Case Name: In re Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause, and Summary for 1999-2000 #29

Citation: 972 P.2d 257 (Colo. 1999)

Year: 1999

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ac61f31d5e20c73dde3eb52cc6fcffb1

Case Summary: Holding that an initiative violated the single-subject requirement of the state constitution because it would have changed the qualifications to serve as a state judge or justice, changed the qualifications to serve as a member of the judicial discipline commission, and changed the jurisdiction of county judges for the City and County of Denver. These three changes served different purposes and were not interrelated, and thus the initiative violated the single-subject rule.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Anderson v. Celebrezze

Citation: 460 U.S. 780 (1983)

Federal District Court:

Year: 1983

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/2fac0a01214a760ccdeae055560d58f3

Case Summary:

  1. Ohio's early filing deadline places an unconstitutional burden on the voting and associational rights of petitioner Anderson's supporters.
  2. The Ohio filing deadline not only burdens the associational rights of independent voters and candidates, it also places a significant state-imposed restriction  on a nationwide electoral process. A burden that falls unequally on independent candidates or on new or small political parties impinges, by its very nature, on associational choices protected by the First Amendment, and discriminates against those candidates and voters whose political preferences lie outside the existing political parties.
  3. The Ohio deadline does not serve any state interest "in maintaining the integrity of the various routes to the ballot" for the Presidency, because Ohio's Presidential preference primary does not serve to narrow the field for the general election. The deadline is not drawn to protect the parties from "intraparty feuding" and may actually impair the State's interest in preserving party harmony.
 

Case Name: Campbell v. Buckley

Citation: 203 F.3d 738 (10th Cir. 2000)

Federal Circuit Court: 10th Circuit Court

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/4e64a0c1cc6935da9aed5c2715eeaa03

Case Summary:

  1. Eight individuals and three organizations brought this action challenging the constitutionality of the "title setting" requirements of the State of Colorado's ballot initiative law. The district court, after a bench trial, upheld the constitutionality of the Colorado scheme. We affirm.
  2. In the pending case, we are persuaded that the balancing test is appropriate.
  3. The State's asserted regulatory interest need only be sufficiently weighty to justify the limitation imposed on the [plaintiff's] rights.
  4. The legislative process and the initiative process  are so fundamentally different that we cannot read the Equal Protection Clause of the federal Constitution to require the state to afford the same title setting treatment to these two processes.

Case Name: Campbell v. Buckley

Citation: 46 F. Supp. 2d 1115 (D. Colo. 1999)

Federal District Court: District of Colorado

Year: 1999

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/cb3148b4a82111667f6d4222afc9ebbc

Case Summary: Holding that statute imposing requirements for unaffiliated candidates' nominating petitions, including candidate's being registered to vote, violated the Qualifications Clause of the Constitution.

Case Name: Montero v. Meyer

Citation: 790 F. Supp. 1531 (D. Colo. 1992)

Federal District Court: District of Colorado

Year: 1992

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/6b18bc3d0a11bbbb910c562633d94f68

Case Summary: Holding that a group of plaintiffs had a liberty right to challenge the title board's decision on an "English Only" amendment that was added to the Colorado Constitution by the vote of this state's citizens. Therefore, adding an amendment without proper notice violated the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. All registered electors also have an interest in the choice of language to be used in a private initiative's title, submission clause and summary.

Regulations & Guidance