Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

History of Election Results for Ballot Issues

Both the Colorado Constitution and state statutes are subject to amendment by legislatively referred and citizen-initiated measures.  The process is governed by the Colorado Constitution and state law.1 

Legislatively referred measures.  The Colorado General Assembly may refer constitutional measures to the voters with a two-thirds vote of both houses, and may refer statutory measures to the voters with a majority vote of both houses.  The General Assembly submitted its first measure to Colorado voters in 1880.

Citizen-initiated measures.  Any Colorado resident may place a constitutional or statutory measure on the ballot.  The use of citizen initiated measures for constitutional and statutory changes was voted into law in 1910 and became available in 1912.

Even- and odd-numbered year elections.  State law clarifies the types of proposals that may appear on a statewide ballot in odd-numbered years.2  Odd-year election proposals are limited to state matters arising under TABOR.  These types of proposals include a new tax, a tax rate increase, an extension of an expiring tax, a tax policy change directly causing a net revenue gain, and emergency taxes.  They also include the creation of multiple-year fiscal obligations or debt, an increase in the assessment rate for a class of property, the weakening of a state limit on spending, and voter-approved revenue changes.  State law does not limit the types of proposals that are eligible for the ballot in even-numbered years.

Numbering and lettering for ballot measures.  Beginning in November 2010, statewide citizen-initiated measures are numbered, while those that are legislatively referred are lettered.  Table 1 provides further detail on the numbering and lettering schedule for statewide ballot measures.

Table 1
Ballot Measure Numbering and Lettering Schedule
 
Amendment
(Constitutional)
Proposition
(Statutory)
Citizen-Initiated
1 to 99
(Beginning with 60*)
100 to 199
(Beginning with 100*)
Legislatively Referred
A to Z
(Beginning with P*)
AA to ZZ
(Beginning with AA*)
Source:  Section 1-5-407, C.R.S.
*Parenthetical notes indicate the number or letter used as a starting point in 2010.
 
1Colo. Const. art. V, § 1 and Sections 1-40-101, et seq., and 1-41-101, et seq., C.R.S.
2Section 1‑41-102, C.R.S.

Statewide Ballot Measures Since 1880

The tables below provide information about statewide ballot measures since 1880.  Table 2 displays ballot measures by type, origin, and outcome.  Table 3 classifies measures by category. 

Table 2
Statewide Ballot Measures by Type, Origin, and Outcome
Type/Origin
Total
Adopted
Rejected
Constitutional
348
161
183
Citizen-initiated
155
49
106
Legislatively referred
189
112
77
Citizen-initiated/No vote*
4
N/A
N/A
Statutory
109
43
64
Citizen-initiated
74
30
44
Legislatively referred
20
10
10
Referendums**
13
3
10
Citizen-initiated/No vote*
2
N/A
N/A
Question***
9
4
5
Total Measures
466
208
252
Source:  Legislative Council Staff.
*Citizen-initiated/No vote indicates rare instances where ballot measures appeared on the ballot but were withdrawn or later determined to have insufficient signatures.
**Referendums occur when citizens request a vote against any act or section of an act that contains a referendum clause and was passed by the legislature.  That last referendum occurred in 1932.
***A question is a proposition in the form of a question arising under TABOR without reference to specific state legislation or a specific amendment to the state constitution.
 

Table 3
Statewide Ballot Measures by Category
Category*
Total
Adopted
Rejected
Abortion
8
2
6
Agriculture and Livestock
6
1
5
Alcohol
8
3
5
Business and Labor**
25
11
10
Children and Domestic Matters
4
1
3
Civil Rights**
8
4
3
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
9
5
4
Education
22
10
12
Elections
44
30
14
Energy and Utilities
13
4
9
Gaming
23
9
14
General Assembly
16
10
6
Government Finance
17
5
12
Health and Human Services
11
6
5
Initiative Process
13
6
7
Judiciary and Courts
22
13
9
Local Government
22
11
11
Marijuana**
5
3
1
Natural Resources
10
3
7
Public Employee Compensation
16
5
11
Public Pension
7
2
5
Property
5
2
3
State Government
47
18
29
Taxation
72
24
48
Technical Amendments
10
9
1
Term Limits
13
6
7
Transportation
10
5
5
Total
466
208
252
Source:  Legislative Council Staff.
*Ballot measures were categorized by the most appropriate category; however, many measures fit under multiple categories.
**Indicates where ballot measures appeared on the ballot but were withdrawn or later determined to have insufficient signatures — Business and Labor (4); Civil Rights (1); and Marijuana (1).
 
Online Database of Statewide Ballot Measures Dating Back to 1880
 
ctaballot.jpg
 
The Secretary of State’s Office also maintains an archive of election results at: http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Results/Archives.html.