Consider carefully whether or not you should sign BEFORE you research the issue. Once petition drives start (which is NOW), stay in touch with the League or the SOS office to review current petitions.
KNOW whether it is a constitutional amendment, a state statute or a Referendum petition. Understand if it is citizen or Legislature Initiated.
- Does it belong in the Constitution? If an initiative intends to amend the U.S. or state Constitution, consider whether it really belongs there. Is it a fundamental law that should be protected from change? Correcting a constitutional amendment requires another constitutional amendment — and another vote of the people — which is cumbersome and costly
- Should it be a law? Remember, a statute initiative by the citizenry may not take into account the complexities involved, including enforcement and other budget considerations. Statute initiatives can also be amended or cancelled at a later date by a vote of the legislature.
- Is it complex? Some issues can be decided by a simple “yes” or “no” vote, but complex issues need to be thoroughly examined and debated in a legislative arena — not a grocery store parking lot — before writing onto a ballot. Some initiatives are not well written, or contain conflicts that may require court resolution or interpretations. If written to law, the inevitable clarification of legalese costs taxpayers.
- Whose idea is it? All signature gatherers are required to wear a badge that identifies them as “volunteer circulator” or “paid circulator”. If the signature gatherer is not wearing a badge, do not sign. If s/he is a paid circulator, the badge should also give the name and phone number of who hired her/him. You can find out the real sponsors and opponents of a petition drive:
o Contribution and expenditure reports are available through the Election Center at the Secretary of State’s Office at 303-894-2200 or at www.sos.state.co.us.
o Larimer County Clerk's Office, 970-498-7922
o Loveland City Clerk, 970-962-2322
o Fort Collins City Clerk, 970-221-6515
o GOOGLE the individuals or groups that support or oppose the initiative.
- How will it be funded? An unfunded mandate or a recall of an elected official who will be up for reelection soon anyway, may impact other essential programs by diverting budgets. The public may have believed in the premise, but didn’t realize the funding would cause other problems.