Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am filing with the Secretary of State House Bill 05-1147, "Concerning the Requirements Regarding Persons Who Circulate Election Petitions," to the Colorado House of Representatives. I have vetoed this bill as of 11:47 a.m. today and this letter sets forth my reasons for doing so.
I applaud the General Assembly for deleting from our statutes aspects of the legal requirements for petition circulators that have been struck down by the courts. However, this bill goes well beyond such a necessary and valuable clean up to our laws. Instead, it pulls out a crystal ball and attempts to predict other aspects of Colorado election law that the courts will strike down at some future date and seeks to eliminate those now.
I disagree. The General Assembly should not, based upon the fear of a lawsuit, strike good laws from statute.
Specifically, there are two still-valid provisions that H.B. 1147 would eliminate. The first is that a person who circulates a petition for a partisan candidate must be affiliated with the same political party as the candidate. This requirement prevents mischief by partisans who may attempt to impact the nomination of a different party's candidate, or affect the outcome of an election by nominating a divisive candidate.
The other requirement is that a petition circulator must wear a badge indicating whether he or she is "paid" or "volunteer." In Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the requirement that a circulator wear name identification. However, the Court did not rule on the requirement that the badge disclose whether the circulator is paid or volunteer. This requirement is beneficial because the badge educates the public as to the petition circulator's level of involvement with an issue or candidate.
Although it is necessary to eliminate statutory requirements that have been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the requirements that are still valid in Colorado should not be removed.
Accordingly, I have vetoed this bill.
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