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Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

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Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

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Initiative Procedures & Guidelines

SoS home > Elections home > Initiatives home > Initiative procedures & guidelines > Petition entities

Petition entities

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.

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.

Application for license

To obtain a license, a petition entity must:

  • submit an application for petition entity license;
  • pay a nonrefundable licensing fee of $100; 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.

The application for a petition entity license (PDF) is available online at the Secretary of State website.

Denial of a license

The Secretary of State may deny a license if the petition entity or any of its principals have been found to violate Colorado or another state’s petition laws and such violation involves authorizing or knowingly permitting acts in section 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.

Revocation of license

The Secretary of State will revoke a license if, at any time after licensure, a petition entity no longer complies with the requirements of section 1-40-135(2)(a), C.R.S., or the petition entity authorized or knowingly permitted the following:

1) Forgery of a registered elector’s signature;

2) 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;

3) Use of a false circulator name or address in the affidavit;

4) Payment of money or other things of value to any person for the purpose of inducing the person to sign or withdraw his or her name from the petition; or

5) A notary public’s notarization of a petition section outside the presence of the circulator or without the required identification for notarization of a petition section.

Complaint, hearing & judgment

If a filed complaint alleges 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 no more than $100.00 per circulator for each day that 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. Upon any subsequent violation of that section, the Secretary of State will revoke the petition entity's license for not less than one hundred eighty days or more than one year.

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.

Decision on applications 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 filing.

Registration requirements

A licensed petition entity must also register with the Secretary of State before circulating a statewide initiative petition. To register, the petition entity must complete and submit a Licensed Petition Entity Registration Form (PDF).

Licensed petition entities must provide the following information:

1) The ballot title and initiative number of any measure that the entity will pay individuals to circulate;

2) The current name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the petition entity; and

3) The name and signature of the petition entity’s designated agent for the proposed measure.

A petition entity must notify the Secretary of State within 20 days of any change in the registration information submitted.

Circulation of petition: gathering signatures

Petitions may be circulated after the Secretary of State (1) approves the printer’s proof and (2) approves petition entity licenses and registrations if circulators will receive compensation.

Training for petition entity representatives & petition circulators

The Secretary of State circulator training program provides an overview of circulating petitions and how to avoid potential fraudulent activities. In addition, the training summarizes circulator rights and responsibilities.

The petition’s proponents or the petition entity’s representatives must inform all circulators that training is available.

Each circulator must affirm in the affidavit that he or she has read and understands the laws pertaining to petition circulation. If the circulator completes our training program, then he or she will satisfy this requirement.

At least one petition entity representative must complete the Secretary of State training program to obtain a petition entity license.

A link to the current training guide is available online.

ID requirements for circulators

When a circulator finishes circulating a petition section, they must complete the “Affidavit of Circulator” (located on the last page of the petition section) in the presence of a notary. The circulator must present an acceptable form of identification as defined by section 1-1-104(19.5), C.R.S. to the notary. The list of acceptable forms of identification can be found here:

Acceptable Forms of Identification (PDF)

While the Colorado residency requirement for circulators was struck down in Independence Institute v. Gessler, the court upheld the requirement that a circulator present to the notary a specific type of identification. Therefore, if the identification provided has an address, it must be a Colorado address. The court’s decision can be found here:

Independence Institute v. Gessler (PDF)

When presenting an ID to the notary, the ID must be from the “Acceptable Forms of Identification” list and if it has an address, it must be a Colorado address.

Petition representatives and circulators should review Article 40, Title 1, C.R.S., and the instructions outlined in the circulator manual.