Article XXI, Colorado Constitution

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Article XXI[1] of the Colorado Constitution is entitled Recall from Office. It has four sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

State Officers May Be Recalled.

Every elective public officer of the state of Colorado may be recalled from office at any time by the registered electors entitled to vote for a successor of such incumbent through the procedure and in the manner herein provided for, which procedure shall be known as the recall, and shall be in addition to and without excluding any other method of removal provided by law.

The procedure hereunder to effect the recall of an elective public officer shall be as follows:

A petition signed by registered electors entitled to vote for a successor of the incumbent sought to be recalled, equal in number to twenty­five percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding election for all candidates for the position which the incumbent sought to be recalled occupies, demanding an election of the successor to the officer named in said petition, shall be filed in the office in which petitions for nominations to office held by the incumbent sought to be recalled are required to be filed; provided, if more than one person is required by law to be elected to fill the office of which the person sought to be recalled is an incumbent, then the said petition shall be signed by registered electors entitled to vote for a successor to the incumbent sought to be recalled equal in number to twenty­five percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding general election for all candidates for the office, to which the incumbent sought to be recalled was elected as one of the officers thereof, said entire vote being divided by the number of all officers elected to such office, at the last preceding general election; and such petition shall contain a general statement, in not more than two hundred words, of the ground or grounds on which such recall is sought, which statement is intended for the information of the registered electors, and the registered electors shall be the sole and exclusive judges of the legality, reasonableness and sufficiency of such ground or grounds assigned for such recall, and said ground or grounds shall not be open to review.

Amendments

Added November 5, 1912. (See Laws 1913, p. 672.)

as amended November 6, 1984 ­­

Effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 14, 1985.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Form of Recall Petition.

Any recall petition may be circulated and signed in sections, provided each section shall contain a full and accurate copy of the title and text of the petition; and such recall petition shall be filed in the office in which petitions for nominations to office held by the incumbent sought to be recalled are required to be filed.

The signatures to such recall petition need not all be on one sheet of paper, but each signer must add to his signature the date of his signing said petition, and his place of residence, giving his street number, if any, should he reside in a town or city. The person circulating such sheet must make and subscribe an oath on said sheet that the signatures thereon are genuine, and a false oath, willfully so made and subscribed by such person, shall be perjury and be punished as such. All petitions shall be deemed and held to be sufficient if they appear to be signed by the requisite number of signers, and such signers shall be deemed and held to be registered electors, unless a protest in writing under oath shall be filed in the office in which such petition has been filed, by some registered elector, within fifteen days after such petition is filed, setting forth specifically the grounds of such protest, whereupon the officer with whom such petition is filed shall forthwith mail a copy of such protest to the person or persons named in such petition as representing the signers thereof, together with a notice fixing a time for hearing such protest not less than five nor more than ten days after such notice is mailed. All hearings shall be before the officer with whom such protest is filed, and all testimony shall be under oath. Such hearings shall be summary and not subject to delay, and must be concluded within thirty days after such petition is filed, and the result thereof shall be forthwith certified to the person or persons representing the signers of such petition. In case the petition is not sufficient it may be withdrawn by the person or a majority of the persons representing the signers of such petition, and may, within fifteen days thereafter, be amended and refiled as an original petition. The finding as to the sufficiency of any petition may be reviewed by any state court of general jurisdiction in the county in which such petition is filed, upon application of the person or a majority of the persons representing the signers of such petition, but such review shall be had and determined forthwith. The sufficiency, or the determination of the sufficiency, of the petition referred to in this section shall not be held, or construed, to refer to the ground or grounds assigned in such petition for the recall of the incumbent sought to be recalled from office thereby.

When such petition is sufficient, the officer with whom such recall petition was filed, shall forthwith submit said petition, together with a certificate of its sufficiency to the governor, who shall thereupon order and fix the date for holding the election not less than thirty days nor more than sixty days from the date of submission of said petition; provided, if a general election is to be held within ninety days after the date of submission of said petition, the recall election shall be held as part of said general election.

Amendments

Added November 5, 1912. (See Laws 1913, p. 673.)

as amended November 6, 1984 ­­

Effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 14, 1985.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Resignation Filling Vacancy.

If such officer shall offer his resignation, it shall be accepted, and the vacancy caused by such resignation, or from any other cause, shall be filled as provided by law; but the person appointed to fill such vacancy shall hold his office only until the person elected at the recall election shall qualify. If such officer shall not resign within five days after the sufficiency of the recall petition shall have been sustained, the governor shall make or cause to be made publication of notice for the holding of such election, and officers charged by law with duties concerning elections shall make all arrangements for such election, and the same shall be conducted, returned and the result thereof declared in all respects as in the case of general elections.

On the official ballot at such elections shall be printed in not more than 200 words, the reasons set forth in the petition for demanding his recall, and in not more than three hundred words there shall also be printed, if desired by him, the officer's justification of his course in office. If such officer shall resign at any time subsequent to the filing thereof, the recall election shall be called notwithstanding such resignation.

There shall be printed on the official ballot, as to every officer whose recall is to be voted on, the words, "Shall (name of person against whom the recall petition is filed) be recalled from the office of (title of the office)?" Following such question shall be the words, "Yes" and "No", on separate lines, with a blank space at the right of each, in which the voter shall indicate, by marking a cross (X), his vote for or against such recall.

On such ballots, under each question, there shall also be printed the names of those persons who have been nominated as candidates to succeed the person sought to be recalled; but no vote cast shall be counted for any candidate for such office, unless the voter also voted for or against the recall of such person sought to be recalled from said office. The name of the person against whom the petition is filed shall not appear on the ballot as a candidate for the office.

If a majority of those voting on said question of the recall of any incumbent from office shall vote "no", said incumbent shall continue in said office; if a majority shall vote "yes", such incumbent shall thereupon be deemed removed from such office upon the qualification of his successor.

If the vote had in such recall elections shall recall the officer then the candidate who has received the highest number of votes for the office thereby vacated shall be declared elected for the remainder of the term, and a certificate of election shall be forthwith issued to him by the canvassing board. In case the person who received the highest number of votes shall fail to qualify within fifteen days after the issuance of a certificate of election, the office shall be deemed vacant, and shall be filled according to law.

Candidates for the office may be nominated by petition, as now provided by law, which petition shall be filed in the office in which petitions for nomination to office are required by law to be filed not less than fifteen days before such recall election.

Amendments

Added November 5, 1912.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Limitation Municipal Corporations May Adopt, When.

No recall petition shall be circulated or filed against any officer until he has actually held his office for at least six months, save and except it may be filed against any member of the state legislature at any time after five days from the convening and organizing of the legislature after his election.

After one recall petition and election, no further petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which he was elected, unless the petitioners signing said petition shall equal fifty percent of the votes cast at the last preceding general election for all of the candidates for the office held by such officer as herein above defined.

In any recall election of a state elective officer, if the incumbent whose recall is sought is not recalled, he shall be repaid from the state treasury for the expenses of such election in the manner provided by law. The general assembly may establish procedures for the reimbursement by a local governmental entity of expenses incurred by an incumbent elective officer of such governmental entity whose recall is sought but who is not recalled.

If the governor is sought to be recalled under the provisions of this article, the duties herein imposed upon him shall be performed by the lieutenant­governor; and if the secretary of state is sought to be recalled, the duties herein imposed upon him, shall be performed by the state auditor.

The recall may also be exercised by the registered electors of each county, city and county, city and town of the state, with reference to the elective officers thereof, under such procedure as shall be provided by law.

Until otherwise provided by law, the legislative body of any such county, city and county, city and town may provide for the manner of exercising such recall powers in such counties, cities and counties, cities and towns, but shall not require any such recall to be signed by registered electors more in number than twenty­five percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding election, as in section 1 hereof more particularly set forth, for all the candidates for office which the incumbent sought to be recalled occupies, as herein above defined.

Every person having authority to exercise or exercising any public or governmental duty, power or function, shall be an elective officer, or one appointed, drawn or designated in accordance with law by an elective officer or officers, or by some board, commission, person or persons legally appointed by an elective officer or officers, each of which said elective officers shall be subject to the recall provision of this constitution; provided, that, subject to regulation by law, any person may, without compensation therefore, file petitions, or complaints in courts concerning crimes, or do police duty only in cases of immediate danger to person or property.

Nothing herein contained shall be construed as affecting or limiting the present or future powers of cities and counties or cities having charters adopted under the authority given by the constitution, except as in the last three preceding paragraphs expressed.

In the submission to the electors of any petition proposed under this article, all officers shall be guided by the general laws of the state, except as otherwise herein provided.

This article is self­executing, but legislation may be enacted to facilitate its operations, but in no way limiting or restricting the provisions of this article, or the powers herein reserved.

Amendments

References

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