Local Group First to Test New Signature Gathering Rules

According to a press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, we have a guinea pig for new signature-gathering rules for ballot measures:

Backers of a measure that would limit housing growth in Colorado might be the first to test a new provision that requires anyone trying to amend Colorado’s constitution to collect a percentage of voter signatures from each of the state’s 35 Senate districts.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office this week approved the petition format for proposed Initiative 4, which allows its backers, Daniel Hayes of Golden and Julianne Page of Wheat Ridge, to begin collecting signatures to try to get the measure on the 2018 ballot. They have until Nov. 30 to collect 98,492 valid voter signatures, including at least 2 percent from each Senate district based on current voter registration figures.

The provision requiring the collection of signatures in each Senate district was approved by voters in 2016 to make it more difficult to amend Colorado’s frequently amended Constitution. Amendment 71 or “Raise the Bar,” as it was called, is being challenged in court by Hayes, another individual and two health organizations. They claim it is unconstitutional on several fronts.

Prior to Amendment 71, signatures were required to be collected from each of seven congressional districts.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    If memory serves, the seven Congressional District rule was for statewide candidates, like governor.  I don't believe it applied to issues.  Maybe someone like PR can clarify.

    • Pseudonymous says:

      The requirement for an initiative is that it receive a number of signatures at least equal to 5% of the votes cast in the last election for the Secretary of State.  There is no requirement on where those signatures are collected from.

      Colorado Constitution, Article V, Section 1(2):

      The first power hereby reserved by the people is the initiative, and signatures by registered electors in an amount equal to at least five percent of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for the office of secretary of state at the previous general election shall be required to propose any measure by petition, and every such petition shall include the full text of the measure so proposed. Initiative petitions for state legislation and amendments to the constitution, in such form as may be prescribed pursuant to law, shall be addressed to and filed with the secretary of state at least three months before the general election at which they are to be voted upon.

      Unless, of course, the initiative is intended to change the Constitution.  Then the Amendment 71 changes kick in, requiring that those required signatures include at least 2% of the registered electors in each of the 35 senate districts.

      There wasn't a congressional district requirement for signatures for initiatives prior to Amendment 71.  Sounds like Pols conflated the initiative process with the congressional district signature requirements for statewide major party candidates.

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    The new initiative rules require gathering signatures from each of the 35 State Senate districts. Yes, it is a hardship.

    Although I have to say I don't like the snarky tone in the respondent's motion:

    "Because Amendment 71 forces proponents to collect signatures in these rural districts, it coerces them, on pain of losing a place on the ballot, into speaking to people they do not choose to address in places they do not wish to speak."

    Hey, what are we, chopped liver out here in the sage, fracking, and cattle country? sad

    • Pseudonymous says:

      Wow,  I had to dig to find the quote the SoS used.  It comes not from the initial filing, but from the plaintiff's brief opposing the dismissal of the case.  It's a shortened restatement of the point from their initial complaint, which was used effectively by Ms. Bartels.  It's (politically) poorer shorthand for this:

      [From Plaintiff's Second Claim for Relief]

      52. By requiring initiative proponents to gather signatures from voters in every state senate district, and to engage in political speech and associational activities in each of those thirty-five senate districts, Amendment 71 compels the proponents to spend money and engage in political speech and associational activities in those districts even though, in the absence of Amendment 71's requirements, they would avoid engaging in political speech and associational activities in those districts.

      * Note to any journalists who stop by.  Please give a case title (or name the lead plaintiff and defendant) or case number when you write about these things.  Damn.

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Will be interesting to see how this initiative to limit housing fares if they do collect enough signatures. A now deceased work colleague who lived in Boulder back when the Danish Plan went into effect; to limit growth; said the value of his house literally doubled overnight. Like it or not, unless the US turns into a version of the old Soviet Union where citizen movement was strictly controlled, people are still coming to Colorado and have to live somewhere.

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