The process for placing a statewide initiative on the ballot is governed by the Colorado Constitution (Article V, Section 1) and state law (Articles 40 and 41 of Title 1, Colorado Revised Statute). The Secretary of State and the Legislative Council have adopted rules to implement certain provisions of the constitution and state law, and the Colorado Supreme Court has decided cases relating to the initiative process that interpret the constitution and state law.
Further, Article V, Section 1 (7.5), Colorado Constitution, and Section 1-40-124.5, Colorado Revised Statutes, require the Legislative Council Staff to prepare a ballot information booklet prior to each election in which a statewide issue will appear on the ballot. The purpose of the booklet is to provide voters with the text, title, and a fair and impartial analysis of each initiated or referred constitutional amendment, law, or question on the ballot.
* Pursuant to Section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act, Legislative Council Staff translates election information into languages other than English when the number of United States citizens of voting age in a single language group within the county:
- is more than 10,000; or
- is more than five percent of all voting age citizens; or
- on an Indian reservation, exceeds five percent of all reservation residents; and
- the illiteracy rate of the group is higher than the national illiteracy rate.
Legislative Council Staff follows the determination of the U.S. Department of Justice as to which counties are subject to this requirement. In 2016, these counties are Costilla, Denver, and Rio Grande.