Placing an Issue on the Ballot by Petition
Colorado law outlines how a petition may be circulated. House Bill 09-1326, signed into law on May 15, 2009, establishes additional requirements for petition circulators.
There are two ways to place an issue on the ballot.
- An authority, such as the Board of County Commissioners, may place an issue on the ballot.
- Persons may place an issue on the ballot by submitting a petition. The form of the petition and the method of collecting signatures are governed by Colorado law. An issue may not be placed on the ballot by petition if those legal requirements are not met. Please seek legal counsel when considering petition initiatives.
"The procedures for placing an issue or question on the ballot by a petition of the electors of a county that is pursuant to statute or the state constitution or that a board of county commissioners may refer to a vote of the electors pursuant to statute or the state constitution shall, to the extent no such procedures are prescribed by statute, charter, or the state constitution, follow as nearly as practicable the procedures for municipal initiatives and referred measures under part 1 of article 11 of title 31, C.R.S. The county clerk and recorder shall resolve any questions about the applicability of the procedures in part 1 of article 11 of title 31, C.R.S." [30-11-103.5 C.R.S.]
The full text of the Colorado statutes concerning petitions is available at www.michie.com/colorado. The relevant sections are under Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 31, Article 11.
The petition process involves months of preparation prior to the election. The following is an abridged version of steps one can expect to encounter to place an issue on the ballot. This is not a substitute for legal advice and the full text of Colorado law.
- Draft a petition following the requirements of 31-11-106 C.R.S.
- Submit a printer's proof of the petition form and language to the county clerk and recorder. The clerk and recorder has five business days to approve or reject the petition.
- If approved, the petition may be circulated for 180 days. A petition must be signed by at least 5% of the registered voters of the political subdivision.
- The signed petition is filed. The clerk and recorder has 30 days to examine the signatures and file a statement of sufficiency or insufficiency.
- A challenger has 40 days to protest the petition (from the date the petition is filed).
- A hearing officer has 60 days to hold a hearing regarding the protest (from the date the petition is filed).