Colorado Petition Circulator Affidavit
In Colorado, a petition circulator may ask a notary to notarize the petition affidavit on an election petition. The petition may be for a candidate, to recall an elected official, or for an initiative or referendum on a ballot issue.
Notaries must be careful when notarizing a petition affidavit because the procedure is defined under Colorado state election laws, Title 1, or local election laws, not under the notary laws.
It is not the responsibility of the notary to inspect or verify the gathered signatures on the petition. Election officials do that when the notarized petitions are turned in to them. Any signature added to the petition after it has been notarized is invalid.
We offer Colorado Springs mobile notary services to notarize petition circulator affidavits. See our training certificate for Colorado SOS training Notarization of Petition Affidavits.
If needed, we can contact other mobile notaries to work together as a notary team to speed up the affidavit notarization process for your team of petition circulators.
Petition Circulator for Candidate
The procedure for petitions for candidacy is defined in CRS 1-4-905. The petition circulator will gather qualified signatures, according to the election laws and procedures. When the circulator is done gathering signatures, he/she needs to sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary. The circulator statute defines the specific elements that must be included in the petition affidavit.
The notary takes the affidavit of the circulator by administering an oath or affirmation that the statements listed on the petition are true and correct. An election official may not accept for filing any petition that does not have a notarized affidavit attached.
Petition Circulator for Initiative or Referendum
The affidavit procedure on a circulated petition for an initiative or referendum is defined in CRS 1-40-111(2).
Notaries beware, the notarial certificate for this affidavit requires the notary to specify the form of identification presented on a blank line in the affidavit form. This is not the normal notary procedure for other types of documents or affidavits.
To describe the document, the notary may note the last signature line completed on the petition, the petition section number, and the candidate’s name, referendum or initiative number in the notary journal.
Petition Circulator for Recall
For a recall from office, the petition requirements are defined in CRS 1-12-108. The requirements for the petition affidavit are defined in CRS 1-12-108(6)(b), petition requirements.
Be alert for any additional or different requirements for notarizing a local petition under city, municipal, county or state laws.
In Colorado Springs, the City Charter, section 12-30(b), defines the requirements for notarizing an affidavit of a petition circulator.
To each section of a petition, which section may consist of one or more sheets, shall be attached an affidavit by the Circulator,
signed under oath before a Notary Public,
stating that the Circulator is a registered elector of the City of Colorado Springs, and
that the Circulator personally circulated the paper,
the number of signatures thereon,
that all the signatures were affixed in the Circulator’s presence,
that to the best of the Circulator’s knowledge each signature appended to the paper is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be,
that each signer had an opportunity before signing to read the full text of the matter proposed or sought to be reconsidered, and
that to the best of the Circulator’s knowledge each signer is an elector of the City of Colorado Springs.
Acceptable ID for Petition Circulator
The types of acceptable identification for a petition circulator are different from the normal types of identification accepted for other notarized documents. They are listed in CRS 1-1-104 (19.5)(a) acceptable forms of identification for petition circulator. If the identification provided has an address, it must be a Colorado address.
SOS Training Guide for Petition Circulators
The Secretary of State has an online training guide for petition circulators, including a section on notarizing the petition circulator affidavit. Colorado Petition Circulator Training Guide, 20 pages.
SOS Training Video, Notarization of Petition Affidavits
The Secretary of State offers a 10-minute notary training video tutorial with a certificate of completion at Notarization of Petition Affidavits video.
We have created a transcript of the tutorial as a notary learning aid at Notarization of Petition Affidavits course transcript.
Notaries, please note that blank spaces are not normally allowed in notarized documents. But for petitions, blank spaces on unused petition signature lines are allowed. (See training tutorial.) Blank lines (blocks of information for a petition signer) will not be counted by election officials when tallying signatures.
Colorado SOS election rule 15.4.6, on statewide initiative petitions, states: Election staff will count each line with writing on each petition section. Staff will not count blank or completely crossed-out lines. Staff will count lines with incomplete writing or partial cross-outs.
Recall Petition Law Update
Update: The recall petition law, sections CRS 1-12-108(6)(b) and (8)(c)(II), were changed on May 9, 2014, under Colorado Senate Bill 14-158. Changes were made to harmonize the statutes with the Colorado Constitution and to align the regulations for a recall petition with the regulations for an initiative or referendum. Section (9)(c) was deleted.
Be sure you are following the latest version of the law.
Petitions may be in multiple sections. Each section requires a separate affidavit.
Sample Colorado Petition Circulator Affidavit
See a sample Colorado Affidavit of Circulator.
Notaries, be careful to complete the notarial certificate on the affidavit correctly. The petitions will be inspected by election officials. Defective notarizations may cause petitions to be invalidated. If too many signatures are invalidated due to defective notarizations, it may disqualify a candidate or ballot issue from appearing on the ballot.
Petition Rejection for Notary Errors
Some reasons for rejecting a petition include: circulator’s affidavit incomplete, notary’s jurat incomplete, and notary and circulator dates differ.
Petition Circulator Trespassing
The right granted by Article V of the Colorado Constitution to circulate a petition to gather signatures does not include a right to trespass on private property without permission from the property owner. Circulators should get legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney regarding lawful locations to gather signatures.
For an example, see news article Petition Circulator Charged with Trespassing at a grocery store in Carbondale, Colorado.
[Updated 2020-06-10] added notarization of petition affidavits tutorial transcript