Code Section
Tool bar
Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Odd-year Elections

1-41-101. Legislative declaration

Overview of Statute

Ballot issue election dates and odd-year election requirements.



The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that section 20 of article X of the state constitution requires that a ballot issue election be held on the first Tuesday in November of odd-numbered years; that the provisions of section 20 (2) and 20 (3) of said article X are unclear as to what issues can be submitted to a vote in the odd-year election; that section 20 of article X did not amend preexisting provisions of the state constitution on the initiative, the referendum, and the submission of constitutional amendments by the general assembly, and repeal or amendment of such provisions by implication is not presumed; that this legislation implements section 20 of article X of the state constitution, which article is entitled “Revenue” and concerns exclusively government revenue raising and appropriations; that section 20 of article X requires public votes on additional government taxes, spending, or debt; that the language of section 20 of article X evinces the public’s desire to have more opportunity to vote on government tax, spending, and debt proposals; that a construction of section 20 of article X that limits local government electors’ opportunities to vote on tax, spending, debt, or other proposals would be inconsistent with the ballot title of and the voters’ intention in adopting said amendment; that state and local election officials need guidance as to how to administer the November 1993 election; and that, in view of the issues set out in this section, the general assembly should exercise its legislative power to resolve the ambiguities in section 20 of article X in a manner consistent with its terms.

Source: L. 93: Entire article added, p. 1993, § 1, effective June 8.

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 The substantive provisions of these articles were repealed and reenacted in 1980, resulting in the addition, relocation, and elimination of sections as well as subject matter.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.


Holding that interpretations of § 20 of article X of the state constitution which would limit the right of the electorate to vote on tax, spending, debt, or other proposals are not favored. Havens v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 924 P.2d 517 (Colo. 1996).

Holding that Colorado identified 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 statutes enacted to resolve ambiguities existing in provisions of state constitutional Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) did not conflict with those allegedly self-executing provisions so as to render statutes impermissible; statutes resolved ambiguity of TABOR provision governing scheduling of elections, within legislature’s authority, and were consistent with and served to implement TABOR. Zaner v. City of Brighton, 1996, 917 P.2d 280.

Holding that the statute declaring that initiated constitutional amendment known as the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR) is ambiguous and providing that, as used in election provision thereof, local government matters subject to the provision include tax, debt and revenue changes properly implements the amendment’s election provisions based on ambiguity present therein and is not unconstitutional on grounds that the amendment is self-executing. Zaner v. City of Brighton, App.1994, 899 P.2d 263, modified on denial of rehearing, certiorari granted, affirmed 917 P.2d 280.

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 [Ballot title]

The language which is printed on the ballot which is comprised of the submission clause and the title.

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 [Title]

A brief statement that fairly and accurately represents the true intent and meaning of the proposed text of the initiative.

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 [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.

Definition [Spending]

Funds expended influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local public office in the state and includes, without limitation, any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value by any political organization, a contract, promise, or agreement to expend funds made or entered into by any political organization, or any electioneering communication by any political organization. C.R.S. § 1-45-103.

Definition [Secretary]

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


Colorado Cases

Case Name: Brownlow v. Wunch

Citation: 102 Colo. 447, 80 P.2d. 444 (1938)

Year: 1938

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that a party fearing injury due to a ballot initiative may not intervene. The secretary of state's actions were merely ministerial acts, which did not mandate consideration of the potential intervenor's grievances.

Case Name: Zaner v. City of Brighton

Citation: 899 P.2d 263 (Colo. App. 1994)

Year: 1994

Case URL:[...]

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.

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:

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: Independence Inst. v. Gessler

Citation: 936 F. Supp. 2d 1256 (D. Colo. 2013)

Federal District Court: District of Colorado

Year: 2013

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that Colorado statute limiting the per signature compensation for circulators of ballot initiative petitions was subject to strict scrutiny and violated the First Amendment.