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Badge requirements

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Badge requirements mandate that circulators identify themselves or their paid/volunteer status while gathering signatures. These requirements take two primary forms. Some states require circulators to wear an actual badge, while other states require them to include the identifying information on the petition itself. Such laws are also known as "scarlet letter laws."

Of the 24 initiative and referendum states, only five states have such requirements. Only one, Colorado, requires circulators to wear a badge. The other four require the notice to appear on the petition form.


In Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation (1999), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Tenth Circuit Court decision invalidating a Colorado law that required circulators to display their name on a badge. The court held:

ACLF presented [evidence] that compelling circulators to wear identification badges inhibits participation in the petitioning process.[1]

Since Buckley, badge requirements have focused on disclosing the paid or volunteer status of petition circulators.

See also

External links


Badge requirements by state


See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Arizona

Arizona requires that paid circulators be identified as such on petition forms. Arizona does not require badges identifying paid circulators.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 19, Ch. 1, Art. 1, 19-102


See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado

Colorado law requires that paid and volunteer circulators be identified as such on badges. Colorado law used to require that the badges include the circulator's name, but this requirement was struck down in Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 1, Article 40, Section 112 & Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation


See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Nebraska

Nebraska law requires that the circulator's paid/volunteer status be disclosed on the petition form in large red type.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Nebraska Revised Statutes, Chapter 32, Section 628 (4)


See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Oregon

Oregon requires that paid petition circulators be identified by their petition form. The color of petition sheets circulated by paid gatherers must be different than the color of those circulated by volunteers. If proponents pay anyone to collect signatures, all petitions forms must prominently feature, in bold type, the words: "Some Circulators For This Petition Are Being Paid." In addition, the sheets must explain the color scheme for differentiated volunteer and paid circulators.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 250.045


See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Wyoming

Wyoming requires that any petition circulated by a paid signature gatherer bear the following notice on each page in large, red letters: "This circulator is being paid to solicit signatures for this ballot proposition." In addition, Wyoming law requires the notice to be "prominently displayed and made visible to the petition signer by the circulator."

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Wyoming Statutes, Title 22, Chapter 24, Section 125(a)