Overview of Statute
To serve as a petition circulator, an individual must be a resident of the state, a United States citizen, at least 18 years old, and, for partisan candidates, registered to vote and affiliated with the political party.
Each section will have a signed, notarized affidavit by the circulator containing the affiant’s name, address, the date of the signature, a statement of the circulator’s qualifications, an affirmation that the affiant circulated the petition, and the proper signature for whomever signs the petition. Circulators must also, to the best of their knowledge, affirm that the signatories are eligible electors who did not receive payment for their signature.
(1) A person shall not circulate a petition to nominate a candidate unless the person is a citizen of the United States and at least eighteen years of age.
(2) (a) Each petition section must have attached a signed, notarized, and dated affidavit executed by the person who circulated the petition section, which must include: The affiant’s printed name, the address at which the affiant resides, including the street name and number, the city or town, the county, and the date of signature; a statement that the affiant has read and understands the laws governing the circulation of petitions; a statement that the affiant was a citizen of the United States and at least eighteen years of age at the time the section of the petition was circulated and signed by the listed electors; a statement that the affiant circulated the section of the petition; a statement that each signature on the petition section was affixed in the affiant’s presence and is the signature of the person whose name it purports to be; a statement that to the best of the affiant’s knowledge and belief each of the persons signing the petition section was, at the time of signing, an eligible elector; a statement that the affiant has not paid or will not in the future pay and that the affiant believes that no other person has paid or will pay, directly or indirectly, any money or other thing of value to any signer for the purpose of inducing or causing the signer to sign the petition; a statement that the affiant understands that the affiant can be prosecuted for violating the law governing the circulation of petitions, including the requirement that the affiant truthfully completed the affidavit and that each signature thereon was affixed in the affiant’s presence; and a statement that the affiant understands that failing to make himself or herself available to be deposed and to provide testimony in the event of a protest shall invalidate the petition section if it is challenged on the grounds of circulator fraud.
(b) (I) A notary public shall not notarize an affidavit required under subsection (2)(a) of this section unless:
(A) The circulator is in the physical presence of the notary public;
(B) The circulator has dated the affidavit and fully and accurately completed all of the personal information on the affidavit required by subsection (2)(a) of this section; and
(C) The circulator presents a form of identification as defined in section 1-1-104 (19.5).
(II) An affidavit that is notarized in violation of any provision of subsection (2)(b)(I) of this section is invalid.
(III) If the date signed by a circulator on an affidavit required under subsection (2)(a) of this section is different from the date signed by the notary public, the affidavit is invalid. If a notary public notarizes an affidavit that has not been dated by the circulator, the notarization date does not cure the circulator’s failure to date the affidavit and the affidavit is invalid.
(3) The designated election official shall not accept for filing any section of a petition which does not have attached to it the notarized affidavit required by this section. Any signature added to a section of a petition after the affidavit has been executed is invalid.
(4) (a) As part of any court proceeding or hearing conducted by the secretary of state or designated election official related to a protest of all or part of a petition section, the circulator of such petition section shall be required to make himself or herself available to be deposed and to testify in person, by telephone, or by any other means permitted under the Colorado rules of civil procedure. Except as set forth in subsection (4)(b) of this section, the petition section that is the subject of the protest shall be invalid if a circulator fails to comply with the requirement set forth in this subsection (4)(a) for any protest that includes an allegation of circulator fraud that is pled with particularity regarding:
(I) Forgery of an eligible elector’s signature;
(II) Circulation of a petition section, in whole or part, by anyone other than the person who signs the affidavit attached to the petition section;
(III) Use of a false circulator name or address in the affidavit; or
(IV) Payment of money or other things of value to any person for the purpose of inducing the person to sign the petition
(b) Upon the finding by a district court, the secretary of state, or the designated election official that the circulator of a petition section is unable to be deposed or to testify at trial or a hearing conducted by the secretary of state or designated election official because the circulator has died, become mentally incompetent, or become medically incapacitated and physically unable to testify by any means whatsoever, the provisions of subsection (4)(a) of this section do not apply to invalidate a petition section circulated by the circulator.
(5) A candidate or candidate committee shall maintain a list of the names and addresses of all circulators who circulated petition sections on behalf of the candidate, the notaries public who notarized petition sections on behalf of the candidate, and the petition section numbers that each circulator circulated and that each notary public notarized. A copy of the list shall be filed with the secretary of state or designated election official along with the petition. If a copy of the list is not filed, the secretary of state or designated election official shall prepare the list and charge the proponents a fee to cover the actual cost of the preparation. Once filed or prepared by the secretary of state or designated election official, the list is a public record for purposes of article 72 of title 24.
(6) (a) A circulator who is not to be paid for circulating a petition shall display an identification badge that includes the words “VOLUNTEER CIRCULATOR” in bold-faced type that is clearly legible.
(b) A circulator who is to be paid for circulating a petition shall display an identification badge that includes the words “PAID CIRCULATOR” in bold-faced type that is clearly legible and the name and telephone number of the individual employing the circulator.
(7) The secretary of state shall develop circulator training programs for paid and volunteer circulators and shall offer the training programs in the most cost-effective manner available. A candidate, committee, or petition entity shall inform paid and volunteer circulators of the availability of these training programs as one manner of complying with the requirement set forth in the circulator’s affidavit that a circulator read and understand the laws pertaining to petition circulation.
Source: L. 92: Entire part R&RE, p. 689, § 7, effective January 1, 1993. L. 98: (1) amended, p. 634, § 7, effective May 6. L. 2001: (1) amended, p. 1002, § 5, effective August 8. L. 2007: (1) and (2) amended, p. 1971, § 9, effective August 3. L. 2016: (1) amended, (SB 16-142), ch. 173, p.577, § 33, effective May 18. L. 2019: (1) and (2) amended and (4), (5), (6), and(7) added, (HB 19-1278), ch. 326, p. 3013, § 21, effective August 2.
Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-4-603 (8) as it existed prior to 1992.
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 Candidate committee
A person, including the candidate, or persons with the common purpose of receiving contributions or making expenditures under the authority of a candidate. A contribution to a candidate shall be deemed a contribution to the candidate’s candidate committee. A candidate shall have only one candidate committee. A candidate committee shall be considered open and active until affirmatively closed by the candidate or by action of the secretary of state. Section 2(3) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Definition for Title
A brief statement that fairly and accurately represents the true intent and meaning of the proposed text of the initiative.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
13. Definition for Committee
The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
14. 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.
Case Name: Buckley v. Am. Constitutional Law Found.
Citation: 525 U.S. 182
Federal District Court:
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.