1-40-101. Legislative declaration
Overview of Statute
In order for the initative process to operate as efficiently as possible, it is essential that circulators verify all elements of their circulator affidavits and participate in challenges related to the secretary of state’s determination of petition sufficiency.
(1) The general assembly declares that it is not the intention of this article to limit or abridge in any manner the powers reserved to the people in the initiative and referendum, but rather to properly safeguard, protect, and preserve inviolate for them these modern instrumentalities of democratic government.
(2) (a) The general assembly finds, determines, and declares that:
(I) The initiative process relies upon the truthfulness of circulators who obtain the petition signatures to qualify a ballot issue for the statewide ballot and that during the 2008 general election, the honesty of many petition circulators was at issue because of practices that included: Using third parties to circulate petition sections, even though the third parties did not sign the circulator’s affidavit, were not of legal age to act as circulators, and were paid in cash to conceal their identities; providing false names or residential addresses in the circulator’s affidavits, a practice that permits circulators to evade detection by persons challenging the secretary of state’s sufficiency determination; circulating petition sections without even a rudimentary understanding of the legal requirements relating to petition circulation; and obtaining the signatures of persons who purported to notarize circulator affidavits, even though such persons were not legally authorized to act as notaries or administer the required oath;
(II) The per signature compensation system used by many petition entities provides an incentive for circulators to collect as many signatures as possible, without regard for whether all petition signers are registered electors; and
(III) Many petition circulator affidavits are thus executed without regard for specific requirements of law that are designed to assist in the prevention of fraud, abuse, and mistake in the initiative process.
(b) The general assembly further finds, determines, and declares that:
(I) Because petition circulators who reside in other states typically leave Colorado immediately after petitions are submitted to the secretary of state for verification, a full and fair examination of fraud related to petition circulation is frustrated, and as a result, the secretary of state has been forced to give effect to certain circulator affidavits that were not properly verified and thus were not prima facie evidence of the validity of petition signatures on affected petition sections; and
(II) The courts have not had authority to exercise jurisdiction over fraudulent acts by circulators and notaries public in connection with petition signatures reviewed as part of the secretary of state’s random sample.
(c) Therefore, the general assembly finds, determines, and declares that:
(I) As a result of the problems identified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection (2), one or more ballot measures appeared on the statewide ballot at the 2008 general election even though significant numbers of the underlying petition signatures were obtained in direct violation of Colorado law and the accuracy of the secretary of state’s determination of sufficiency could not be fully evaluated by the district court; and
(II) For the initiative process to operate as an honest expression of the voters’ reserved legislative power, it is essential that circulators truthfully verify all elements of their circulator affidavits and make themselves available to participate in challenges to the secretary of state’s determination of petition sufficiency.
Source: L. 93: Entire article amended with relocations, p. 676, § 1, effective May 4.L. 2009: Entire section amended, (HB 09-1326), ch. 258, p. 1169, § 2, effective May 15.
Editor’s note: Articles 1 to 13 were numbered as articles 1, 3, 4, 9 to 19, and 21 of chapter 49, C.R.S. 1963. The substantive provisions of these articles were repealed and reenacted in 1980, resulting in the addition, relocation, and elimination of sections as well as subject matter. For amendments to these articles prior to 1980, consult the Colorado statutory research explanatory note and the table itemizing the replacement volumes and supplements to the original volume of C.R.S. 1973 beginning on page vii in the front of this volume. Former C.R.S. numbers prior to 1980 are shown in editor’s notes following those sections that were relocated. For a detailed comparison of these articles for 1980, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.
Cross references: For school elections, see articles 30, 31, and 42 of title 22; for elections for removal of county seats, see article 8 of title 30; for municipal elections, see article 10 of title 31; for special district elections, see part 8 of article 1 of title 32; for exemption of certain statutory proceedings from the rules of civil procedure, see C.R.C.P. 81; for recall from office, see article XXI of the state constitution; for recall of state and county officers, see part 1 of article 12 of this title; for recall of municipal officers, see part 5 of article 4 of title 31; for recall of directors of special districts, see § § 32-1-906, 32-1-907.
Editor’s note: This article was numbered as article 1 of chapter 70, C.R.S. 1963. The substantive provisions of this article were amended with relocations in 1993, resulting in the addition, relocation, and elimination of sections as well as subject matter. For amendments to this article prior to 1993, consult the Colorado statutory research explanatory note and the table itemizing the replacement volumes and supplements to the original volume of C.R.S. 1973 beginning on page vii in the front of this volume. Former C.R.S. section numbers are shown in editor’s notes following those sections that were relocated. For a detailed comparison of this article, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.
Cross references: For amendments to the state constitution by the general assembly, see art. XIX, Colo. Const.
Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-40-111 as it existed prior to 1993, and the former § 1-40-101 was relocated. For a detailed comparison, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.
Scientific and cultural facilities districts, authority to levy sales and use taxes, valid initiative petitions, see § 32-13-105.
Law reviews: For article, “Structuring the Ballot Initiative: Procedures that Do and Don’t Work”, see 66 U. Colo. L. Rev. 47 (1995); for comment, “Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, Inc.: The Struggle to Establish a Consistent Standard of Review in Ballot Access Cases Continues”, see 77 Den. U. L. Rev. 197 (1999).
Annotator’s note. The following annotations include cases decided under former provisions similar to this section.
Holding that Colorado identified a legitimate state interest in call-back provisions of election statute, which required that petition circulators make themselves available to be deposed and provide testimony in the event of protest of all or part of petition section, in response to claim that call-back provisions violated free speech rights of those involved in state’s initiative and referendum process; legislative findings concluded that, for initiative process to operate honestly, circulators had to verify all elements of their affidavits and make themselves available to Secretary of State for determination of petition’s sufficiency. Independence Institute v. Gessler, 2012, 869 F.Supp.2d 1289.
Holding that the initiative law favors placing matters before the voters and guides statutory and constitutional construction by Supreme Court. Armstrong v. Davidson, 2000, 10 P.3d 1278, modified on denial of rehearing.
Holding that this statute is constitutional. Zaner v. City of Brighton, 899 P.2d 263 (Colo. App. 1994).
Holding that the legislative intent of article 40 primarily is to make the initiative process fair and impartial. In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g), 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000).
Holding that the legislation may not restrict the right to vote. Legislative acts which prescribe the procedure to be used in voting on initiatives may not restrict the free exercise of the right to vote. City of Glendale v. Buchanan, 195 Colo. 267, 578 P.2d 221 (1978).
The rules define “ballot measure” as a ballot issue or ballot question as defined in sections 1-1-104(2.3) and (2.7), C.R.S.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Definition for 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.
4. Definition for Ballot title
The language which is printed on the ballot which is comprised of the submission clause and the title.
5. 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.
6. Definition for Title
A brief statement that fairly and accurately represents the true intent and meaning of the proposed text of the initiative.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
Case Name: Zaner v. City of Brighton
Citation: 899 P.2d 263 (Colo. App. 1994)
Case Summary: The scope of "The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights" (TABOR) is limited to fiscal issues such as tax, revenue, and spending. Hence, since this election provisions contained in Colo. Const. art. X, § 20(3)(a), apply only to fiscal ballot issues, Brighton's election concerning the transfer of a utility franchise was proper and did not violate TABOR's election provisions.
Case Name: In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 Nos. 245(f) and 245(g)
Citation: 1 P.3d 739 (Colo. 2000)
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: City of Glendale v. Buchanan
Citation: 195 Colo. 267, 578 P.2d 221 (1978)
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: City of Glendale v. Buchanan
Citation: 578 P.2d 221 (Colo. 1978)
- Amendment No. 1 was valid for the following reasons: available statutory and equitable pre-election remedies had not been pursued; the opponents of Amendment No. 1 failed to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the title had misled voters; to invalidate the amendment would do violence to the power of initiative; and Amendment No. 1 and Amendment No. 5 were not in conflict.
- Unless convinced that voters have been misled, a reviewing court must assume that the voters cast informed ballots