Supreme Court Overrules Executive Order 65

Member Communications

July 1, 2020


Supreme Court Overrules Lower Court on Electronic Signature Gathering

This morning, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling reversing the district court’s judgment and concluded that Executive Order 65 is unconstitutional due to the Colorado Constitution requirement that ballot initiatives to be signed in-person before a petition circulator.  
The Colorado Supreme Court surmised that the Colorado Constitution requires ballot initiative petitions be signed in the presence of the petition circulator. This requirement cannot be suspended by executive order, even during a pandemic. Therefore, the Court reversed the order of the district court and remanded for proceedings consistent with their opinion.

Concerned business organizations, like the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, began to organize when Governor Polis signed Executive Order 65, allowing signatures for ballot initiatives to be collected electronically. Polis' action unilaterally changed the state constitution, which stipulates that ballot enabling signatures must be signed in the presence of a witness, or rather the petition circulator.

In support of the order, many discounted the constitution as outdated and old school.  On the contrary, the drafters of this section of the constitution thought carefully about the process in order to ensure that measures reaching the ballot were properly presented and carried the burden of a process. This is evident by the required language parameters and having an in-person witness verifying signatures.  Without these careful processes, the consequences are at best misleading and at worst catastrophic for Coloradans.

The following organizations showed a broad and diverse platform in appealing the lower court's decision by way of an amicus brief that illustrated the constitutional misgivings of the Governor's order and the subsequent impacts that would result.  


American Petroleum Institute

Associated General Contractors of Colorado

Aurora Chamber of Commerce

Club 20

Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association

Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association

Colorado Association of Home Builders

Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors

Colorado Association of REALTORS®

Colorado Association of Wheat Growers

Colorado Automobile Dealers Association

Colorado Aviation Business Association

Colorado Business Roundtable

Colorado Cattlemen's Association

Colorado Chamber of Commerce

Colorado Contractors Association

Colorado Corn Growers Association

Colorado Dairy Farmers

Colorado Farm Bureau

Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association

Colorado Livestock Association

Colorado Oil & Gas Association

Colorado Petroleum Association

Colorado Pork Producers Council

Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation

Colorado Wool Growers Association

Denver Metro Building Owners & Managers Association

Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors

Denver South Economic Development Partnership

Douglas County Business Alliance

Early Childhood Education Association

Economic Development Council of Colorado

El Paso County Board of County Commissioners

Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce

Freedom to Drive

Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce

Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce

Loveland Chamber of Commerce

NAIOP Colorado

National Federation of Independent Business

National Pork Producers Council

Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance

Pueblo Chamber of Commerce

Ready Colorado

South Metro Denver Chamber

Special Districts Association of Colorado

Upstate Colorado Economic Development

Vail Valley Partnership

Colorado's business community understands the weight of this issue as most ballot measures affect their constituents.  While ultimately successful at Colorado's highest court, a lower court didn't adequately consider the issue and misread the constitutional powers of the Administration in Colorado.   Governor Polis does not have the authority, under a pandemic or not, to unilaterally change the state's constitutional provisions.  One can only imagine the consequences of a simple email reply with misleading information being the bar to have a citizen (or someone posing as a Colorado citizen) be the litmus to put any measure on the ballot.  Colorado would have been ruined by such a misstep. 


Colorado Cattlemen's Association | 8833 Ralston Road, Arvada, CO 80002 | 303-431-6422

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