1-12-108. Petition requirements – approval as to form – determination of sufficiency – protest – offenses
Overview of Statute
Signatures on petitions will only be counted after an election official approves the form of the petition and within sixty days of the official’s approval. The form itself may only contain one official for recall and must be standardized to ensure no confusion results from its form, including the designation of a committee that will represent the signers in all matters affecting the petition and a warning about the legal consequences of providing a fraudulent signature. Election officials must approve the form of a petition within seven days of receiving the petition request, with an explanation given for any petition not approved. Committees advocating for the petition may file a corrected petition after receiving disapproval.
No petition will be certified without the requisite number of signatures from eligible electors who have not previously signed a petition for the recall of the same official. All signatures must be made in black ink, if possible, and also list the elector’s address. Only residents of the state over eighteen may circulate a recall petition, and these circulators must also attach a signed, notarized, and dated affidavit with the completed petition. No signature will be valid if added after the date on this affidavit.
Election officials tasked with verifying a completed recall petition must review the petition information against the registration and county assessor’s records. This official must also notify the incumbent within twenty-four hours of receiving the petition and within fifteen days of this date, after reviewing, of the sufficiency of the petition. The official will then have twenty-four hours, assuming the time for protests has passed and any protests have been fully adjudicated, to submit sufficient petitions to the governor or designated election official who will set a date for holding the recall election. The election officials must also meet certain requirements for providing public notice of a sufficient petition. For insufficient petitions, a committee may refile a revised petition within fifteen days of receiving notice of the insufficiency, but the committee will only have one opportunity to refile a petition requiring additional signatures or revisions to circulator affidavits.
Only committee members have standing to appeal a determination that a petition is insufficient. Eligible voters may protest the requirements of any petition deemed sufficient by providing a written protest under oath to the election official within fifteen days of the determination of its sufficiency. Additional procedure and requirements of the petition process will be regulated by other provisions in this statute, including the appealability of any decision on a protested petition. Additionally, the willful destruction or suppression of a petition will be punished as a misdemeanor.
(1) The petition shall be prepared and circulated pursuant to this part 1.
(1.5) No signature shall be counted that was placed on a petition prior to approval as to form of the petition by the designated election official pursuant to subsection (4) of this section or more than sixty days after the designated election official’s approval as to form of the petition.
(2) (a) The petition for the recall of an elected official may consist of one or more sheets, to be fastened together in the form of one petition section, but each side of the sheet that contains signatures of eligible electors shall contain the same heading and each petition section shall contain one sworn affidavit of the circulator. No petition shall contain the name of more than one person proposed to be recalled from office.
(b) The petition for recall may be circulated and signed in sections, and each section shall contain a full and accurate copy of the warning as required by paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of this section, the title in paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of this section, the general statement as described in section 1-12-103, and appropriate columns or spaces for the information required in paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of this section. Each petition section shall designate, by name and address, a committee of up to three persons that shall represent the signers in all matters affecting the petition.
(3) (a) No petition shall be certified as sufficient that does not contain the requisite number of names of eligible electors whose names do not appear on any other petition previously filed for the recall of the same person under the provisions of this article.
(b) At the top of each side of each sheet that contains signatures of eligible electors shall be printed, in bold-faced type, the following:
WARNING: IT IS AGAINST THE LAW:
For anyone to sign this petition with any name other than one’s own or to knowingly sign one’s name more than once for the same measure or to knowingly sign the petition when not a registered elector.
Do not sign this petition unless you are an eligible elector. To be an eligible elector you must be registered to vote and eligible to vote in (name of political subdivision) elections.
Do not sign this petition unless you have read or have had read to you the proposed recall measure in its entirety and understand its meaning.
(c) Directly following the warning in paragraph (b) of this subsection (3) shall be printed in bold-faced type the following:
Petition to recall (name of person sought to be recalled) from the office of (title of office).
(4) (a) No petition shall be circulated until it has been approved as to form as meeting the requirements of this subsection (4). The official with whom the petitions are to be filed pursuant to section 1-12-107 shall approve or disapprove a petition as to form by the close of the seventh business day following submission of the proposed petition. On the day that the action is taken, the official shall mail written notice of the action taken to the committee and to the person whom the petition seeks to recall.
(b) If the form of the petition is not approved as to form, the designated election official shall provide specific reasons for the disapproval.
(c) Nothing in this section limits the ability of the committee to correct a petition as to form in accordance with the specific reasons set forth pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection (4) and to submit the corrected petition for review and approval or disapproval in the same manner as provided in this part 1 for an original submission.
(5) (a) Every petition shall be signed only by eligible electors.
(b) Unless physically unable, all electors shall sign their own signature and shall print their names, respective residence addresses, including the street number and name, the city or town, the county, and the date of signature. Each signature on a petition shall be made, to the extent possible, in black ink.
(c) Any person, except a circulator, may assist an elector who is physically unable to sign the petition in completing the information on the petition as required by law. On the petition immediately following the name of the elector receiving assistance, the person providing assistance shall both sign and state that the assistance was given to the elector.
(6) (a) No person shall circulate a recall petition unless the person is a citizen of the United States and at least eighteen years of age.
(b) To each petition section must be attached a signed, notarized, and dated affidavit executed by the person who circulated the petition section, which includes the information and statements required for initiative or referendum petitions under section 1-40-111.
(c) The designated election official shall not accept for filing any section of a petition that does not have attached to it the notarized affidavit required by this section. Any signature added to a section of a petition after the notarized affidavit has been executed is invalid.
(7) (Deleted by amendment, L. 97, p. 1062, § 5, effective May 27, 1997.)
(7.5) The petition may be filed at any time during the sixty-day period after the designated election official’s approval as to form of the petition as specified in this section. The committee shall file all sections of a petition simultaneously, and any section of a petition submitted after the petition is filed is invalid and has no force or effect.
(8) (a) Promptly after the petition has been filed, the designated election official for the political subdivision shall review all petition information and verify the information against the registration records, and, where applicable, the county assessor’s records. For a state recall petition, the secretary of state shall verify signatures in accordance with section 1-4-908 (1.5). The secretary of state shall establish guidelines for verifying petition entries. Within twenty-four hours after the petition is delivered, the designated election official shall notify the incumbent of the delivery. Following verification of the petition by the designated election official, the designated election official shall make a copy of the petition available to the incumbent sought to be recalled.
(b) Any disassembly of a section of the petition prior to filing that has the effect of separating the affidavit from the signatures renders that section of the petition invalid and of no force and effect.
(c) (I) After review, and no later than fifteen business days after the initial filing of the petition, the designated election official shall notify the committee and the incumbent of the number of valid signatures and whether the petition appears to be sufficient or insufficient.
(II) Upon determining that the petition is sufficient and after the time for protest has passed and any protests duly raised have been fully adjudicated, the designated election official shall, within twenty-four hours, submit the certificate of sufficiency to the governor or designated election official, as appropriate, who shall set a date for holding the election in accordance with section 1-12-111. If the election is a coordinated election, the secretary of state shall notify the designated election official of the coordinated election. The designated election official of the coordinated election shall post the certificate to his or her official web site, or, if there is no official web site, post the certificate in accordance with normal practices reasonably calculated to provide public notice, by 12 noon on the day after the day on which he or she issues the sufficiency determination.
(II.5) During the review of any recall petition, the designated election official shall notify the committee of any errors and insufficiencies regarding circulator affidavits. Upon the receipt of such a notification, the committee has five calendar days from the date of receipt of the notice to cure the errors and insufficiencies described in the notice. To cure a circulator affidavit, the committee must provide the designated election official with a new circulator affidavit that corrects the errors of the previously submitted affidavit.
(III) If the petition is verified as insufficient, the designated election official shall provide the specific reasons for the determination to the committee. The determination may be appealed by the committee in the manner provided in section 1-1-113 to the district court in the county in which the petition was filed. No person other than those on the committee have standing to appeal a determination that the petition is insufficient.
(9) (a) (I) A recall petition that has been verified by the designated election official shall be held to be sufficient unless a protest in writing under oath is filed in the office of the designated election official by an eligible elector within fifteen days after the designated election official has determined the sufficiency of the petition under paragraph (c) of subsection (8) of this section.
(II) The protest shall set forth specific grounds for the protest. Grounds include failure of any portion of a petition or circulator affidavit to meet the requirements of this article or any conduct on the part of petition circulators that substantially misleads persons signing the petition. The designated election official shall forthwith mail a copy of the protest to the committee, together with a notice fixing a time for hearing the protest not less than five nor more than ten days after the notice is mailed.
(III) Every hearing shall be before the designated election official with whom the protest is filed or a designee of the designated election official appointed as the hearing officer or before a district judge sitting in that county if the designated election official is the subject of the recall. The testimony in every hearing shall be under oath. The hearing shall be summary and not subject to delay and shall be concluded within thirty days after the protest is filed with the designated election official, and the result shall be forthwith certified to the committee.
(b) The party filing a protest has the burden of sustaining the protest by a preponderance of the evidence. The decision upon matters of substance is open to review, if prompt application is made, as provided in section 1-1-113. The remedy in all cases shall be summary, and the decision of any court having jurisdiction shall be final and not subject to review by any other court; except that the supreme court, in the exercise of its discretion, may review any judicial proceeding in a summary way.
(d) (I) Not later than three days after the petition has been filed in accordance with subsection (7.5) of this section, any signer may request that his or her name be stricken from the petition by filing with the designated election official a written request that his or her signature be stricken and delivering a copy of the request to at least one member of the committee. If the request is delivered to the member of the committee or the designated election official through the United States mail, it shall be deemed delivered to the committee or the designated election official on the date shown by the cancellation mark on the envelope containing the request received by the member of the committee or the designated election official. If the request is delivered to the member of the committee or the designated election official in any other manner, it shall be deemed delivered to the committee or the designated election official on the date of delivery and stamped receipt by the designated election official.
(II) If the designated election official receives a written request timely filed in accordance with subsection (9)(d)(I) of this section, the election official shall strike the signature of the signer who filed the request. If the election official receives such a written request before the petition is filed, the election official shall strike the signature of the signer who filed the request promptly upon the filing of the petition.
(10) Any person who willfully destroys, defaces, mutilates, or suppresses a petition, or who willfully neglects to file or delays delivery of a petition, or who conceals or removes a petition from the possession of the person authorized by law to have custody of it, or who aids, counsels, procures, or assists any person in doing any of the above acts is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 1-13-111.
Source: L. 92: Entire article R&RE, p. 795, § 15, effective January 1, 1993.L. 93: Entire section amended, p. 1435, § 119, effective July 1.L. 95: Entire section amended, p. 845, § 72, effective July 1.L. 97: (4), (7), (8)(c), (9)(a), and (9)(c) amended and (7.5) added, p. 1062, § 5, effective May 27.L. 99: (9)(c) amended and (9)(d) added, p. 95, § 1, effective September 1.L. 2001: (2)(a) amended, p. 1004, § 14, effective August 8.L. 2002: (7.5) amended, p. 1640, § 32, effective June 7.L. 2007: (6)(a) and (6)(b) amended, p. 1981, § 32, effective August 3.L. 2012: (1), (2), (3)(a), (3)(b), (4), (5)(c), (6)(b), (6)(c), (7.5), (8), (9)(a), (9)(c), and (9)(d)(I) amended and (1.5) added, (HB 12-1293), ch. 236, p. 1040, § 6, effective May 29.L. 2014: (6)(b) and (8)(c)(II) amended, (8)(c)(II.5) added, and (9)(c) repealed, (SB 14-158), ch. 170, p. 618, § 4, effective May 9.L. 2018: (9)(d) amended, (SB 18-233), ch. 262, p. 1617, § 40, effective May 29.L. 2019: (6)(a), (8)(a), and (8)(c)(II.5) amended, (HB 19-1278), ch. 326, p. 3034, § 46, effective August 2.
Cross references: For the legislative declaration in SB 14-158, see section 1 of chapter 170, Session Laws of Colorado 2014.
1. Definition for 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.
2. Definition for 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.
3. Definition for Circulator
A person who presents to other persons for possible signature a petition to place a measure on the ballot by initiative or referendum.
4. Definition for United States
Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
5. Definition for Fully adjudicated
To have been decided by a final judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction and from which there can be no appeal. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
6. Definition for Approved as to form
That the appropriate designated election official has reviewed the blank form of a petition and has approved the form as meeting the standards set forth in this article. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
7. Definition for Political subdivision
A governing subdivision of the state, including counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
8. 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.
9. Definition for Date for holding the election
The first day on which recall ballots:
(a) Are to be made available to eligible electors at voter service and polling centers pursuant to the election plan approved under section 1-12-114(1)(a); and
(b) May be accepted for processing by a designated election official.
C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
10. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
11. Definition for Title
A brief statement that fairly and accurately represents the true intent and meaning of the proposed text of the initiative.
12. 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.
13. Definition for 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.
14. 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.
15. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
16. Definition for Committee
The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
Case Name: Dodge v. County Clerk and Recorder of the County of Fremont
Citation: 768 P.2d 1271 (Colo. App. 1989)
- County clerks must accept the petitions for filing and then conduct a hearing on protests, if any, including a possible protest on the basis of noncompliance with the 60–day rule.
- The clerk cannot refuse to file the recall petitions even though some of the signatures thereon appear to have been entered more than 60 days before the petitions were presented for filing.
- Absent timely protests, filed recall petitions are deemed sufficient. C.R.S. 30–10–203(4).
Case Name: Shroyer v. Sokol
Citation: 550 P.2d 309 (Colo. 1976)
- The power of recall—like that of the initiative and referendum—is a fundamental right of citizens within a representative democracy. Neither the legislature nor local lawmaking bodies may infringe constitutionally protected fundamental rights. Reservation of the power of recall in the people must be liberally construed in favor of the ability to exercise it; conversely, limitations on the power of recall must be strictly construed.
- While Art. XXI, Sec. 4, delegates the recall power to subordinate levels of state government, this delegation is limited to procedural matters and substantive provisions not in conflict with the state constitution.
- When portions of a statute are held unconstitutional, the remaining provisions will remain valid if they are complete in themselves and are not dependent on the invalid parts.
Case Name: R.E.C.A.L.L. (Residents Extremely Concerned About La Plata’s Leadership) v. Sauer
Citation: 721 P.2d 154 (Colo. App. 1986)
Case Summary: Both constitutional provisions governing recall of state officers and the statute relating to recall of county officers expressly require that circulators of recall petitions subscribe an oath. The simple statement appearing on the petition sheets at issue here includes neither a declaration that the statement is true, nor the formal words required by statute to be contained in oaths or affirmations. And, the statutes contemplate that oaths and affirmations must be administered to the maker by another person who is empowered so to act.