1-13.5-602. Watchers – definition
(1) (a) (I) Each candidate for office, or interested party in case of a ballot issue or ballot question, at a local government election is entitled to appoint an eligible elector to act on his or her behalf in every polling place in which he or she is a candidate or in which the issue or question is on the ballot; except that neither a current candidate for director nor any immediate family member, to the second degree, of such candidate is eligible to serve as a watcher for that candidate.
(II) As used in this section, “interested party” means an issue committee whose issue is on the ballot.
(b) The candidates or interested parties shall certify the name of the persons so appointed to the designated election official on forms provided by the designated election official. If multiple names are certified to the designated election official for or against any ballot issue or ballot question, and the designated election official reasonably determines that multiple watchers will impede the conduct of the election, the designated election official may, by lot, reduce the number of watchers to one for and one against the ballot issue or ballot question for each location to be watched.
(c) In case a watcher must leave the polling place, the watcher may designate an alternate to act on his or her behalf while he or she is absent if the alternate is made known to the election judges by an affidavit of the person first named as a watcher. A watcher serving at the polling place has the right to remain inside the polling place from at least fifteen minutes prior to the opening of the polls until after the completion of the count of votes cast at the election and the certification of the count by the election judges. Each watcher may maintain a list of eligible electors as the names are announced by the election judges and witness each step in the conduct of the election.
(2) Watchers shall take an oath administered by one of the election judges that they are eligible electors, that their name has been submitted to the designated election official as a watcher for this election, and that they will not in any manner make known to anyone the result of counting votes until the polls have closed.
(3) Watchers shall not:
(a) Interrupt or disrupt the processing, verification, or counting of any ballots or any other stage of the election;
(b) Write down any ballot numbers or any other identifying information about the electors;
(c) Handle the pollbooks, affidavits and self-affirmations, ballots, mail ballot envelopes, absentee ballot envelopes, voting or counting machines, or machine components;
(d) Interfere with the orderly conduct of any election process, including issuance of ballots, receiving of ballots, and voting or counting of ballots;
(e) Interact with election officials or election judges except for the individual identified by the designated election official; or
(f) Have a cellular phone, camera, recording device, laptop or tablet, or other electronic data capture device in the polling place.
(4) A designated election official may remove a watcher upon finding that the watcher commits or encourages fraud in connection with his or her duties, violates any of the limitations outlined in this article, violates his or her oath, or is abusive or threatening toward election officials or any other person.
Source: L. 2014: Entire article added, (HB 14-1164), ch. 2, p. 21, § 6, effective February 18. L. 2016: (1)(a)(I) amended, (HB 16-1442), ch. 313, p. 1268, § 7, effective August 10.
Editor’s note: Section 19 of chapter 313 (HB 16-1442), Session Laws of Colorado 2016, provides that changes to this section by the act apply to elections conducted on or after August 10, 2016.
1. Definition for Issue committee
Any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons:
(I) That has a major purpose of supporting or opposing any ballot issue or ballot question; or
(II) That has accepted or made contributions or expenditures in excess of two hundred dollars to support or oppose any ballot issue or ballot question.
(b) “Issue committee” does not include political parties, political committees, small donor committees, or candidate committees as otherwise defined in this section.
(c) An issue committee shall be considered open and active until affirmatively closed by such committee or by action of the appropriate authority.
Section 2(10) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
(b) For purposes of section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution, “major purpose” means support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question that is reflected by:
(I) An organization’s specifically identified objectives in its organizational documents at the time it is established or as such documents are later amended; or
(II) An organization’s demonstrated pattern of conduct based upon its:
(A) Annual expenditures in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question; or
(B) Production or funding, or both, of written or broadcast communications, or both, in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question.
(c) The provisions of paragraph (b) of this subsection (12) are intended to clarify, based on the decision of the Colorado court of appeals in Independence Institute v. Coffman, 209 P.3d 1130 (Colo. App. 2008), cert. denied, — U.S. —, 130 S. Ct. 165, 175 L. Ed. 479 (2009), section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution and not to make a substantive change to said section 2 (10) (a) (I).
C.R.S. § 1-45-103.
2. Definition for Immediate family member
Any spouse, child, spouse’s child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, stepbrother, stepsister, stepparent, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, nephew, guardian, or domestic partner. Section 2 of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
3. Definition for Designated election official
The secretary of state, a county clerk and recorder, or other election official as provided by article XXI of the state constitution. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
4. Definition for 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.
5. Definition for Person
Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
6. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
7. Definition for Committee
The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
8. Definition for Candidate
Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.