Organizing and completing a statewide recall election is no easy task.
In fact, it has never been done before in Colorado.
While organizing within the grassroots proves to be a challenging ordeal by itself, navigating the intricacies of the recall process with the office of the Secretary of State requires intense attention to detail and leaves no room whatsoever for error.
So how does a recall Election work?
Filing The Petition For Recall
Chapter 15 of the Colorado Elections Policy Manual discusses Recall Elections. It states:“Every elected officer at the state or local level in Colorado is subject to recall from office.”
As Governor, Jared Polis is a statewide elected official.
“At the state and county levels, the elected officer must hold office for at least 6 months before a recall petition may be circulated or filed.”
Polis was sworn in as Governor on January 8th, meaning he cannot be recalled until July 8th
“The number of signatures proponents must collect is based on the type of office.” For Statewide offices, “Signatures equal to 25% of all votes cast for that office in the previous general election” are required.
In November of 2018 2,525,062 total votes were cast for the Gubernatorial election in Colorado.
That means 631,266 valid signatures must be collected to recall Governor Polis.
“For all state recall elections, the Secretary of State approves all petitions, and the county serves as the designated election official (DEO) who conducts the election. The DEO must approve the proponents’ petition format before they may begin circulating.”
There is no room for error on the submission, so our attorney will spend significant time writing this petition.
Collecting Signatures On An Approved Recall Petition
Who can volunteer?
Every person who circulates the petition must be:
• A Colorado resident;
• A U.S. citizen; and
• At least 18 years old.
Who can sign?
Only Colorado Residents who are registered to vote in Colorado may sign the petition.
All signed petitions must be notarized by a notary public.
After You’ve Got Your Petition Signed
Each Petition must be notarized by a notary public, then batched with all other petitions from around the state before they are sent to the Secretary of State’s office for validation.
If enough signatures are valid (in this case, 631,266) the Secretary of State approves the petition and a recall election is to be set.
Can There Be Multiple Petitions?
Unfortunately, the answer is “Yes”. Any Issue Committee may submit a petition for the Secretary of State for approval, even if another organization already has.
The SOS’s office will approve two or more recall petitions for an officeholder as long as the proponents are different and the statements of grounds for recall are different. These petitions may not combine their efforts in order to reach the 631,266 signature threshold.
Can I Sign Multiple Petitions?
Yes and No.
Our team recognizes what an enormous task we are taking on to collect the appropriate amount of signatures. It is highly unlikely more than one organization could accomplish this feat while working at the same time as one another. Even ballot initiatives requiring 1/5 of the number of signatures have fallen short of their goal in the past.
The organization which submits their petition first with the correct number of signatures should not be concerned. As long as their signatures are valid, they are counted. Any organization to submit after that would be at a huge disadvantage because any duplicate signatures on their petition will be cancelled, as those signatures are already credited to the first petition submitted.
One major, yet highly unlikely complication which could derail the entire Governor recall effort would take place if the first petition submitted was deemed insufficient and needed the 15 day window to gather the remaining balance of signatures. If during that time, a second petition was submitted to the Secretary of State, any signatures present on both petitions would be nullified. At that point, failure would be virtually guaranteed.
This is precisely why our organization has kept a firm message on unity throughout our planning. Multiple organizations working to duplicate efforts will only be working against the cause. Any one signing a petition should be sure it is the correct one.
Can We Recall State Representatives at the Same Time?
In fact, we encourage it.
That is why Resist Polis PAC formed a sister organization titled “Recall Et All”
This Issue Committee is intended to serve as a resource to any local groups who want to begin the process of recalling their State Representative or Senator.
By working together, we can save the citizens of Colorado TONS of money and TIME. Specifically, if we can sync the timing on all recalls in Colorado, our combined efforts with maximize the turnout for petition signers and minimize the effort needed to collect all those signatures.
Statewide Recall Timeline
Because statewide elected officials get to serve for six months before they can be recalled, the very soonest any petition would be reviewed or approved to recall Jared Polis would be July 8th, 2019.
(No signatures may be gathered for the petition prior to it being officially approved)
Once the petition is able to be circulated, our Committee will have 60 days to gather the required number of valid signatures and re-submit the the Secretary of State, where each signature must be validated.
Jared Polis would then have 5 days to resign, should he choose.
Should the petition remain sufficient after the protest period, the Secretary of State must then set a date for holding an election, no sooner than 30 days and no longer than 60 days from the date of final sufficiency.
Please note, the “date for holding an election” is not Election Day. Actually, it is 22 days before election day. This is the first day ballots will be available to Colorado voters. Then, voters have 22 days in total to cast their vote.