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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Initiative And Referendum

1-40-130. Unlawful acts – penalty

Overview of Statute

Petition requirements.

 

Statute

(1) It is unlawful:

(a) For any person willfully and knowingly to circulate or cause to be circulated or sign or procure to be signed any petition bearing the name, device, or motto of any person, organization, association, league, or political party, or purporting in any way to be endorsed, approved, or submitted by any person, organization, association, league, or political party, without the written consent, approval, and authorization of the person, organization, association, league, or political party;

(b) For any person to sign any name other than his or her own to any petition or knowingly to sign his or her name more than once for the same measure at one election;

(c) For any person to knowingly sign any petition who is not a registered elector at the time of signing the same;

(d) For any person to sign any affidavit as circulator without knowing or reasonably believing the statements made in the affidavit to be true;

(e) For any person to certify that an affidavit attached to a petition was subscribed or sworn to before him or her unless it was so subscribed and sworn to before him or her and unless the person so certifying is duly qualified under the laws of this state to administer an oath;

(f) For any officer or person to do willfully, or with another or others conspire, or agree, or confederate to do, any act which hinders, delays, or in any way interferes with the calling, holding, or conducting of any election permitted under the initiative and referendum powers reserved by the people in section 1 of article V of the state constitution or with the registering of electors therefor;

(g) For any officer to do willfully any act which shall confuse or tend to confuse the issues submitted or proposed to be submitted at any election, or refuse to submit any petition in the form presented for submission at any election;

(h) For any officer or person to violate willfully any provision of this article;

(i) For any person to pay money or other things of value to a registered elector for the purpose of inducing the elector to withdraw his or her name from a petition for a ballot issue;

(j) For any person to certify an affidavit attached to a petition in violation of section 1-40-111 (2) (b) (I);

(k) For any person to sign any affidavit as a circulator, unless each signature in the petition section to which the affidavit is attached was affixed in the presence of the circulator;

(l) For any person to circulate in whole or in part a petition section, unless such person is the circulator who signs the affidavit attached to the petition section.

(2) Any person, upon conviction of a violation of any provision of this section, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than one year in the county jail, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

 

Source: L. 93: Entire article amended with relocations, p. 694, § 1, effective May 4.L. 2009: (1)(h) and (2) amended and (1)(i), (1)(j), (1)(k), and (1)(l) added, (HB 09-1326), ch. 258, p. 1178, § 16, effective May 15.

Editor’s note: Subsection (1) is similar to former § 1-40-118 (2), and subsection (2) is similar to former § 1-40-118 (3), as they existed prior to 1993.
 
ANNOTATIONS

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

Holding that it is clear from the provisions of the initiative and referendum act and the penalties provided thereby that the general assembly has been careful and diligent to safeguard the primary right of the people to propose and enact their own legislation. City of Rocky Ford v. Brown, 133 Colo. 262, 293 P.2d 974 (1956).

Holding that the initiative and referendum laws, when invoked by the people, supplant the city council or representative body. City of Rocky Ford v. Brown, 133 Colo. 262, 293 P.2d 974 (1956).

Holding that the people undertake to legislate for themselves. City of Rocky Ford v. Brown, 133 Colo. 262, 293 P.2d 974 (1956).

Holding that the town or city clerk is required to perform certain statutory duties, in connection therewith, for failure of which he is subject to penalties. City of Rocky Ford v. Brown, 133 Colo. 262, 293 P.2d 974 (1956).

Definition [Circulated]

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

Definition [Circulator]

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

Definition [Circulator]

A person who presents to other persons for possible signature a petition to place a measure on the ballot by initiative or referendum.

Definition [Ballot issue]

A nonrecall,  citizen-initiated  petition  or legislatively-referred
measure which is authorized by the state constitution, including a question as defined in  sections 1-41-102 (3) and 1-41-103 (3), enacted in Senate Bill 93-98.

Definition [Political party]

Any group of registered electors who, by petition or assembly, nominate candidates for the official general election ballot. “Political party” includes affiliated party organizations at the state, county, and election district levels, and all such affiliates are considered to be a single entity for the purposes of this article, except as otherwise provided in section 7. Section 2(13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

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 [Section]

A bound compilation of initiative forms approved by the secretary of state, which shall include pages that contain the warning required by section 1-40-110 (1), the ballot title, the abstract required by section 1-40-110 (3), and a copy of the proposed measure; succeeding pages that contain the warning, the ballot title, and ruled lines numbered consecutively for registered electors’ signatures; and a final page that contains the affidavit required by section 1-40-111 (2). Each section shall be consecutively prenumbered by the petitioner prior to circulation.

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.

Cases

colorado Cases

Case Name: City of Rocky Ford v. Brown

Citation: 293 P.2d 974 (Colo. 1956)

Year: 1956

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/bbcc15cb8984dcef5befc0d64f5485dc

Case Summary:

  1. Neither this, nor any other court, may be called upon to construe or pass upon a legislative act until it has been adopted. The only exception to this rule is the constitutional provision authorizing the legislature to propound interrogatories to the supreme court upon important questions upon solemn occasions.
  2. Whenever the provisions of the initiative and referendum laws are applied as here, to local and municipal affairs, the city or town clerk shall perform the duties specified, and upon failure to perform these mandatory duties, or shall refuse to submit any petition in the form presented for submission at any election, is subjected to the penal provisions of the statute providing for a fine and imprisonment. C.R.S. '53, 70-1-19.
  3. No discretion rests with administrative officials to pass upon the validity of an act proposed by the people.The people in the exercise of their right to vote upon such proposal, wisely adopt or reject it. If they express their sanction and approval of the ordinance by their vote, and its enforcement is attempted by one whose rights are affected, then the courts are open to pass upon the question of its validity.
  4. The separation of governmental powers must be held inviolate, therefore the trial court or this court may not intrude upon the legislative powers through an advisory opinion.

Case Name: Fabec v. Beck

Citation: 922 P.2d 330 (Colo. 1996)

Year: 1996

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/c5be6ab4bb2b1b003a8eb6c361f9ef05

Case Summary: Holding that no administrative review of Secretary's determination concerning sufficiency of signatures is required before protestor can seek judicial relief; it was proper for Secretary to combine valid signatures determined by line-by-line examination of both the original petition and the addendum rather using a random sampling method; substantial compliance is standard applied in assessing effect of signature deficiencies; discrepancies in circulator's date of signing and date of notary acknowledgement made affected petitions invalid; petition that contained altered date next to circulator's signature was invalid; changes to circulator's signing date did not constitute substantial compliance; there was substantial compliance with notarized affidavit requirement; and there was substantial compliance with signature requirements despite omission of signing date from one circulator affidavit.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Independence Inst. v. Gessler

Citation: 869 F. Supp. 2d 1289 (D. Colo. 2012)

Federal District Court: District of Colorado

Year: 2012

Case URL: https://perma.cc/TP4X-TFNQ

Case Summary: Holding that Colorado statute stating that “[n]o person shall circulate” petitions within state “unless the person is a resident of the state” barred non-residents from circulating petitions; state election rule allowing temporary non-residents to circulate petitions was not entitled to deference; statute's call-back provisions for petition circulators did not violate First Amendment; and state's significant interest in ensuring that petition entities were knowledgeable about Colorado law justified statute requiring petition entity training.

Case Name: Buckley v. Am. Constitutional Law Found.

Citation: 525 U.S. 182

Federal District Court:

Year: 1999

Case URL: https://casetext.com/case/buckley-v-am-constitutional-law-found

Case Summary: Holding that Colorado statute requiring that initiative-petition circulators be registered voters violated First Amendment right to free speech; statute requiring that initiative-petition circulators wear identification badge bearing the circulator's name violated the same right; and statute requiring that initiative proponents report names and addresses of all paid circulators and amount paid to each circulator violated the same.

Case Name: Am. Constitutional Law Found., Inc. v. Meyer

Citation: 120 F.3d 1092 (10th Cir. 1997)

Federal Circuit Court: 10th Circuit Court

Year: 1997

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/3d3d9c8280768fc2c2d6774c4dc5632d

Case Summary: Holding that state statute requiring petition circulators to be registered electors unconstitutionally impinged on free expression; statute's requirement that circulators wear personal identification badges unconstitutionally infringed their First Amendment rights; and provisions of statute requiring disclosure of information regarding paid circulators violated First Amendment.

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