What is a recall election?
All elected officials are subject to recall after holding office for at least six months. A recall petition can not be circulated or filed against any elected official whose term of office will expire within six months. For all county offices and school district offices subject to recall, the County Clerk serves as the Designated Election Official (DEO) who conducts the election.
What is the first step in the recall process?
Proponents of the recall must submit a petition for approval by the County Clerk prior to printing and circulating. Once the petition format is submitted, the Clerk will approve or reject it within seven business days. The petition must contain a statement of 200 words or less stating the grounds on which the recall is sought. It may not contain profane or false statements. The Clerk will provide specific reasons if a petition is disapproved. The petition can be corrected and submitted again.
The Clerk must notify the incumbent that the recall petition has been filed.
For County Officials: A petition to recall a county officer must be signed by eligible electors equal in number to 25% of all votes cast for that office in the previous general election.
For School District Officials: A petition to recall a school district officer must be signed by eligible electors of the school district equal in number to at least 40% of ballots cast in the last election for that office, not to exceed fifteen thousand signatures. (If there was no election, signatures must equal in number at least 10% of electors residing in the district once the petition is approved for circulation, not to exceed fifteen thousand signatures.)
Petition circulators must review Colorado state law before circulating a petition.
C.R.S. 1-12-108. Petition requirements – approval as to form – determination of sufficiency – protest – offenses.
Every person who circulates the petition must be: a U.S. citizen, and at least 18 years old.
Petitions are submitted to the Clerk for determination of sufficiency. The Clerk has 15 business days to review petitions to verify if there are enough signatures of eligible electors.
If the County Clerk finds the petition insufficient, proponents have 15 days to collect more signatures, or cure deficiencies, and resubmit the petition.
How are petitions checked for sufficiency?
The staff of the Douglas County Elections office must review all petition information and verify it against Colorado’s Statewide Voter Registration System (SCORE). Note that this is not signature verification. Staff members compare individual entries to the registration records in SCORE to verify that each signer was registered at the address provided on the petition at the time they signed the petition.
How is the date of a recall election determined?
If the incumbent does not resign within 5 days after the sufficiency of the recall petition has been certified and the time for protest has passed, the Clerk will call the election and set the election date for no sooner than 30 days and no later than 60 days from the date of final sufficiency. If there is a General Election within 90 days, the recall question will be combined with that election.
What information is included on a recall ballot?
The official ballot shall contain the statement stating the grounds for demanding the officer’s recall. The officer sought to be recalled may submit to the County Clerk a statement of 300 words or fewer justifying the officer’s course of conduct. The officer shall not include any profane or false statements in the statement of justification. The officer shall submit the statement no later than 10 business days after the petition has been deemed sufficient and the time for protest has passed.
The election of a successor is held at the same time as the recall election. The names of those persons nominated as candidates to succeed the person sought to be recalled, except write-in candidates, will appear on the ballot. The name of the person against whom the petition is filed will not appear on the ballot as a candidate for office.
The County Clerk will mail ballots to eligible electors in accordance with the mail ballot plan submitted to and approved by the Secretary of State no later than the 15th day before the last day voted mail ballots may be returned by electors.
The office of the County Clerk and Recorder, or another suitable location, will function as a voter service and polling center from the twenty-second day prior to Election Day through that final day of voting.
There must be one voter service and polling center for each 30,000 active eligible electors in the district of the incumbent sought to be recalled. Each additional voter service and polling center must be open from the 8th day prior through the final day of voting in the recall election.
How is a recall election decided?
If a majority of those voting on the question of the recall of any incumbent from office vote “no”, the incumbent will remain in office; if a majority vote “yes”, the incumbent will be removed from office upon the qualification of the successor.
For more information, please visit the Colorado Secretary of State web page on Recall Petitions. Concerns or complaints regarding a recall effort may be submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office:
Campaign Finance Guidance
303-894-2200, press 3
Campaign Finance Complaints and Enforcement
303-894-2200, ext. 6338