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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Initiative And Referendum

1-40-113. Form – representatives of signers

Overview of Statute

No petition shall be printed, published, or otherwise circulated unless the form and the first printer’s proof of the petition have been approved by the secretary of state.


(1) (a) Each section of a petition shall be printed on a form as prescribed by the secretary of state. No petition shall be printed, published, or otherwise circulated unless the form and the first printer’s proof of the petition have been approved by the secretary of state. The designated representatives of the proponent are responsible for filing the printer’s proof with the secretary of state, and the secretary of state shall notify the designated representatives whether the printer’s proof is approved. Each petition section shall designate by name and mailing address two persons who shall represent the signers thereof in all matters affecting the same. The secretary of state shall assure that the petition contains only the matters required by this article and contains no extraneous material. All sections of any petition shall be prenumbered serially, and the circulation of any petition section described by this article other than personally by a circulator is prohibited. Any petition section circulated in whole or in part by anyone other than the person who signs the affidavit attached to the petition section shall be invalid. Any petition section that fails to conform to the requirements of this article or is circulated in a manner other than that permitted in this article shall be invalid.

(b) The secretary of state shall notify the proponents at the time a petition is approved pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) that the proponents must register an issue committee pursuant to section 1-45-108 (3.3) if two hundred or more petition sections are printed or accepted in connection with circulation of the petition.

(2) Any disassembly of a section of the petition which has the effect of separating the affidavits from the signatures shall render that section of the petition invalid and of no force and effect.

(3) Prior to the time of filing, the persons designated in the petition to represent the signers shall bind the sections of the petition in convenient volumes consisting of one hundred sections of the petition if one hundred or more sections are available or, if less than one hundred sections are available to make a volume, consisting of all sections that are available. Each volume consisting of less than one hundred sections shall be marked on the first page of the volume. However, any volume that contains more or less than one hundred sections, due only to the oversight of the designated representatives of the signers or their staff, shall not result in a finding of insufficiency of signatures therein. Each section of each volume shall include the affidavits required by section 1-40-111 (2), together with the sheets containing the signatures accompanying the same. These bound volumes shall be filed with the secretary of state by the designated representatives of the proponents.

Source: L. 93: Entire article amended with relocations, p. 684, § 1, effective May 4. L. 95: (1) and (3) amended, p. 434, § 10, effective May 8. L. 2009: (1) amended, (HB 09-1326), ch. 258, p.1175, § 11, effective May 15. L. 2010: (1) amended, (HB 10-1370), ch. 270, p. 1240, § 2, effective
January 1, 2011. L. 2011: (1)(a) and (3) amended, (HB 11-1072), ch. 255, p. 1104, § 4, effective August 10. L. 2017: (1)(c) added, (SB 17-152), ch. 169, p. 618, § 4, effective August 9.

Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-40-107 as it existed prior to 1993, and the former § 1-40-113 was relocated to § 1-40-123.

Cross references: (1) For the legislative declaration in the 2010 act amending subsection (1), see section 1 of chapter 270, Session Laws of Colorado 2010.(2) For the legislative declaration in the 2011 act amending subsections (1)(a) and (3), see section 1 of chapter 255, Session Laws of Colorado 2011.


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

Holding that there is a substantial compliance with the requirements that petitions for the initiation of measures shall be printed on pages eight and one-half inches wide, and fourteen inches long with a margin of two inches at the top for binding, where the pages of the protested document are eight and one-half inches wide, thirteen and fifteen-sixteenths inches long, and the top margin varies from one and five-sixteenths inches to two and one-sixteenth inches on the various sheets. Brownlow v. Wunch, 103 Colo. 120, 83 P.2d 775 (1938).

Holding that the Secretary of State’s adoption of presumptions that initiative petitions with extra staple holes had been disassembled and were invalid was arbitrary and capricious;  there were too many alternative explanations for additional staple holes to permit conclusion that petitions had been disassembled. Committee for Better Health Care for All Colorado Citizens by Schrier v. Meyer, 1992, 830 P.2d 884.

Holding that the separation and alteration of sections of a petition to initiate a measure, destroys the integrity of each one so separated and altered, and renders it worthless. Elkins v. Milliken, 80 Colo. 135, 249 P. 655 (1926); Miller v. Armstrong, 84 Colo. 416, 270 P. 877 (1928).

Applied in Leach Arnold Homes, Inc. v. City of Boulder, 32 Colo. App. 16, 507 P.2d 476 (1973).
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 [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.

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 [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 [Secretary]

The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.

Definition [Committee]

The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.


Colorado Cases

Case Name: Fabec v. Beck

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

Year: 1996

Case URL:

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.

Case Name: Loonan v. Woodley

Citation: 882 P.2d 1380 (Colo. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that substantial compliance was the appropriate standard for determining whether petitions conformed with statutory requirements; circulators' affidavits which were missing statement that they had read and understood laws governing petition circulation did not substantially comply with statute; and read-and-understand requirement did not unconstitutionally infringe on the constitutional right to petition.

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