July 26, 2014

SB 14-158: Revising Certain Statutes Governing the Conduct of Recall Elections

On March 17, 2014, Sen. Pat Steadman introduced SB 14-158 – Concerning the Harmonization of Statutory Recall Election Provisions with the Recall Rrovisions in the State Constitution to Reflect the Manner in which Contemporary Elections are Conducted, and, in Connection Therewith, Aligning Circulator Regulation and Petition Requirements with Initiative and Referendum Circulator and Petition Requirements. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill makes various changes to the laws governing conduct of recall elections (recall laws). The bill contains a nonstatutory legislative declaration. The bill defines terms used in statutory and constitutional recall election provisions. The bill prohibits a designated election official from suspending or avoiding the requirement that recall elections be conducted by mail ballot.

The bill:

  • Harmonizes the affidavit contents that recall petition circulators must execute with the affidavits that ballot initiative or petition circulators must execute;
  • Clarifies when the designated election official must certify a recall question to the ballot and call the election; and
  • Reorganizes for chronological clarity the provision setting forth the opportunity to resubmit signed petitions or circulator affidavits.

The bill applies the laws pertaining to initiative and referendum petitions and circulators to recall elections.

The bill conforms to the state constitution the statutory time within which a recall election date must be set by a designated election official and extends the election date in the case of protest and adjudication.

The bill:

  • Requires a designated election official to develop and submit to the secretary of state a mail ballot plan for a recall election;
  • Specifies the times during which the office of the designated election official functions as a voter service and polling center and mail ballots must be sent; and
  • Sets forth the number of voter service and polling centers required for each recall election.

The bill harmonizes with the state constitution the deadline by which a successor candidate must file his or her nomination petition and specifies the times within which such petitions must be verified and the recall election ballot certified.

The bill eliminates the statutory “prior participation requirement”, i.e. the condition that an elector cast a vote on the question of recall in order to have his or her vote for a successor candidate counted.

The bill:

  • Allows an elector who is registered in the political subdivision of a recalled elected official to file a protest alleging that a winning successor candidate is not qualified to assume the recalled officer’s office; and
  • Requires a vacancy election if the court finds that the successor candidate is not qualified.

The bill specifies that, in case of conflict between the recall laws and other provisions of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”, the former controls.

The bill removes an obsolete reference to recall elections that appears under provisions governing petitions for candidacy in other types of elections. Previously, the statutes governing petitions for recall and petitions for candidacy were combined under a single statutory part. House Bill 95-1241 bifurcated the petition laws but neglected to amend this particular provision.

The bill applies the laws regarding recall of elected municipal officers to the recall of local government officers.

The bill makes conforming amendments.

The bill is assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee.

Since this summary, the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee amended the bill and referred it to the Senate Committee of the Whole for 2nd Reading.

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