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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: December 9, 2020

The following is a brief overview of the initiative process in Colorado. More information on how to draft an initiative, file a petition, and rules surrounding the initiative process can be found on the Colorado Secretary of State website.

Filing an Initiative

The state of Colorado allows for both constitutional and statutory initiative petitions. Generally, the requirements for both are similar. File your initiative petition with the Secretary of State within six months of the initiative’s approval by state legislature. Additionally, you must be file no later than three months before the election.

The main difference between the two types of initiatives is in the signature requirements. For a statutory initiative, the petition needs at least 5% of the votes cast for the office of Secretary of State in the previous general election. If the petition is for an initiative seeking to amend the Colorado constitution, there is an additional requirement. The petition must also have signatures of 2% of the registered voters in the 35 Colorado state senate districts.

Odd-Year Elections

The state of Colorado has exceptions for initiatives filed in odd-year elections. During these years, initiative topics are limited. The topics must fall under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the Colorado Constitution. Find a full list of these issues in Section 1-41-102 of the Colorado Constitution.