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The Colorado Revised Statutes define a petition entity as any person or issue committee that provides compensation to a circulator to circulate a ballot petition. As described below, petition entities are regulated by a specific set of state laws recently enacted by the legislature.
1. License Requirement
It is unlawful for any petition entity to provide compensation to a circulator to circulate a petition without first obtaining a license from the Secretary of State.
2. Application for License
To obtain a license, a petition entity must:
- submit an application for petition entity license;
- pay a nonrefundable licensing fee; and
- confirm that a current representative of the petition entity has completed the Secretary of State circulator training program relating to potential fraudulent activities in petition circulation.
Application for a petition entity license (PDF)
3. Denial of a License
The Secretary of State may deny a license if he or she finds that the petition entity or any of its principals have been found, in a judicial or administrative proceeding, to have violated the petition laws of Colorado or any other state and such violation involves authorizing or knowingly permitting any of the acts set forth in sections 1-40-135(2)(c)(I)-(VI), C.R.S., excluding subparagraph (V).
The Secretary of State will deny a license if no current representative of the petition entity has completed the training offered by the Secretary of State.
For additional information, see section 1-40-135(2), C.R.S.
4. Revocation of License
The Secretary of State will revoke a license if, at any time after receiving a license, a petition entity is determined to no longer be in compliance with the requirements of section 1-40-135(2)(a), C.R.S., or if the petition entity authorized or knowingly permitted any of the following:
- Forgery of a registered elector’s signature;
- Circulation of a petition section, in whole or in part, by anyone other than the circulator who signs the affidavit attached to the petition section;
- Use of a false circulator name or address in the affidavit;
- Payment of money or other things of value to any person for the purpose of inducing the person to sign or withdraw his/her name from the petition; or
- A notary public’s notarization of a petition section outside the presence of the circulator or without the production of the required identification for notarization of a petition section.
5. Complaint, Hearing & Judgment
If a complaint is filed with the Secretary of State alleging that a petition entity was not licensed when it compensated any circulator, a hearing will be held in accordance with section 1-40-135(3)(a), C.R.S.
If a violation is found, the petition entity will be fined an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00) per circulator for each day that the named individual or individuals circulated petition sections on behalf of the unlicensed petition entity.
If the petition entity is found to have violated a provision of section 1-40-135(2)(c), C.R.S., the Secretary of State will revoke the entity's license for not less than ninety days or more than one hundred eighty days. Furthermore, upon finding any subsequent violation of that section, the Secretary will revoke the petition entity's license for not less than one hundred eighty days or more than one year.
6. Application for Reinstatement of License
A petition entity whose license has been revoked may apply for reinstatement in accordance with section 1-40-135(3)(b) and (c), C.R.S.
7. Decision on Application for New or Reinstated License
The Secretary of State will issue a decision on any application for a new or reinstated license within ten business days after a petition entity files an application.
8. Registration Requirement
A licensed petition entity must also register with the Secretary of State prior to circulating a ballot petition. To register, the petition entity must complete and submit a Petition Registration form (PDF).
To complete the Licensed Petition Entity Registration Form, the following information must be provided:
- The ballot title of any proposed measure for which a petition will be circulated by circulators coordinated or paid by the petition entity;
- The current name, address, telephone number, and electronic mail address of the petition entity; and
- The name and signature of the designated agent of the petition entity for the proposed measure.
A petition entity must notify the Secretary of State within twenty days of any change in the registration information submitted.