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Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

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

Picture of 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 > Filing the petition for verification of signatures

Filing the petition for verification of signatures

To be placed on the ballot, a petition must receive 5% of the total votes cast for all candidates for the Office of Secretary of State at the previous general election.

Equation: (total votes cast) x (.05) = (requirement)

In the November 6, 2018 General Election, there were 2,492,635 votes cast for the office: (2,492,635) x (.05) = (124,632)

Therefore, the signature requirement for state initiatives for 2019-2020 is 124,632.

Additionally, initiatives that wish to make a change to the Colorado constitution must be signed by at least 2% of the total registered electors in each of the 35 Colorado state senate districts in addition to meeting the requirements outlined above (Article V, Section 1(4) of the Colorado constitution).

The total number of signatures needed for each state senate district will be provided to the designated representatives at the time their petition format is approved for circulation.

Map of current state senate districts

Signature Requirements for State Initiatives

Starting on the date the Title Board set the final language, proponents have six months to circulate petitions. However, the Colorado Constitution requires petitions to be filed no later than three months (August) before an election. Therefore, if the Title Board sets title in April, proponents only have four months to circulate instead of six.

The designated representatives must file the completed petition with the Secretary of State in accordance with section 1-40-113(3), C.R.S. Both representatives must be present when the petition is filed with the Secretary of State.

Along with the petition, designated representatives must file a list containing:

  • The names and addresses of all individuals who circulated petition sections on behalf of the proponents;
  • The names of all notaries public who notarized petition sections on behalf of the proponents; and
  • The petition section numbers that each individual circulated and that each notary public notarized.

If a copy of the list is not filed with the petition, the Secretary of State shall prepare the list and charge the proponents a fee to cover the cost of preparation.

All initiative petitions must be filed by 3:00 PM on the day of filing.

Filing a report of expenditures related to petition circulation

No later than ten days after the petition has been submitted to the Secretary of State, the designated representatives must file a report with the Secretary of State that includes:

  • The dates of circulation by all circulators who were paid to circulate a petition section;
  • The total hours for which each circulator was paid to circulate a petition section;
  • The gross amount of wages paid for each circulator;
  • Any addresses used by circulators on their affidavits that the designated representatives or their agents have determined, prior to petition filing, to be false addresses; and
  • Any other expenditure made by any person or issue committee related to the circulation of petitions for signatures, including the name of the person or issue committee that made the expenditure and the amount of the expenditure.

Complaint by a registered elector

Within ten days after the expenditure report is filed, a registered elector may file a complaint alleging a violation of the requirements for the report.

  • The designated representatives may cure any alleged violation by filing a report or an addendum to the original report within ten days after the date the complaint was filed.
  • If the violation is not cured, an administrative law judge must conduct a hearing on the complaint within 14 days after the date of the additional filing or the deadline for the additional filing, whichever is sooner.
    • If the administrative law judge determines that the designated representatives intentionally violated the reporting requirements, the designated representatives will be subject to a penalty that is equal to three times the amount of any expenditure that was omitted from or erroneously included in the report.
    • If the administrative law judge determines that the designated representatives intentionally misstated a material fact in the report, or omitted a material fact from the report, or never filed a report, the registered elector who filed the complaint may commence a civil action to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs from the designated representatives.

For additional information, see Article V, Section 1(2) of the Colorado Constitution and sections 1-40-107, 1-40-108(1), and 1-40-121, C.R.S.