“Personhood” Fails 2010 Ballot, Pending Hail Mary

Bad news for Democrats from the Secretary of State, reports the Grand Junction Sentinel:

A proposed initiative for the 2010 ballot to define a person at the moment of conception failed to turn in enough signatures, Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher announced Wednesday.

Buescher said the petitions, which were turned into his office Feb. 12, fell well short of the 76,047 needed to make the November ballot.

A random sampling of the signatures resulted in more than 3,000 being rejected. Random sampling is the normal method for verifying signatures, which is why most petition circulators turn in thousands more signatures than needed. This one only turned in 79,648.

But under state law, the ballot supporters have 15 days, until March 18, to collect additional signatures to correct the problem.

We know Democrats who really hope proponents (like Cory Gardner) can get enough signatures turned in by then, though it seems unlikely. The reason is simple enough: in 2008, Amendment 48, “personhood’s” prior incarnation, failed at the polls by over 70% of the vote. Despite its billing as a GOTV winner for conservatives, if anything it had the exact opposite effect.

Our understanding is that Democrats need all the help they can get–another chance to contrast themselves against the Colorado Right to Life hardcores, while most Republicans fumble for non-answers that won’t alienate one or both sides, would be a welcome gift. A poll follows.

Would "personhood" on the Colorado ballot help Democrats or Republicans more?

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23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Tom Russell says:

    I’m wondering whether the proposed ballot initiative implicates corporate personhood.  

    I believe that the text includes the language “the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.'”

    Does that mean that the term person applies only to human beings?  

    (Given that I’m a law professor, you might think I could answer my own question.)

    If the 14th Amendment had included the adjective “natural” before persons, then corporations would not be persons today.  

        • dwyer says:

          What the Republicans argue is that Roe v. Wade was decided

          wrongly because abortion is a medical procedure which rightly belongs to the jurisdiction of the individual states.  So, they urge the Supreme Court to revisit Roe and overturn it on this basis, not that the embryo et.al. is a person.

          THEN, when the issue is returned to the states, each state would vote on whether abortion is legal or not.  The idea behind putting so-called ‘personhood” into the state constitution is that if Roe were overturned, and this amendment were in the state constitution, then abortion would automatically become illegal.  This is a strategy, not a legal brief.  It is designed to keep the right-to-life bunch in line w/o an elected official  of the Republican persuation  EVER having to vote up or down on abortion.

          You guys have to get up early and stay late in order to be ahead of the Republicans.

          If the dems are not “energized” and their turnout is low, and this amendment is on the ballot AND the teaparty folks and republics are hell bent to victory, the amendment could help the republican turnout.  DITTO if the bishops tell catholics they cannot vote for anyone who will not endorse the amendment.

          It is worth a shot.

    • shrubHugger says:

      With that concept. How can corporations have “personhood” when they theoretically can live forever and be more than 50% owned which wouldn’t make them naturalized citizens?

      We’re well on our way to becoming a feudalistic society again, except this time will be under the rule of the Lords of AIG and Walmart.

      On a side note I was glad to see the first degree murder of fetus fail miserably in committee 🙂  

  2. Ralphie says:

    I’m not sure it helps or hurts anybody.  The issue this fall will be jobs.  Period.  If the economy is still in the crapper, Dems lose.  It won’t matter what else is on the ballot.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Jobs may be the issue that helps people make their decisions in November, but ballot measures like this increase turnout to get people there in the first place. There’s been a lot of talk that Democrats might stay home in 2010, but they’re not going to refuse to vote if something like this is on the ballot.

  3. Ellie says:

    did Douglas Bruce and/or his minions try to get some form of TABOR on the ballot before it passed?  I take issue that it helps anyone much less a political party.

    • Jersey Transplant says:

      Amendment 48 (last cycle’s incarnation of this piece of garbage) was the third most voted-on line on the 2008 ballot in colorado right behind US Senate, which was right behind President.  Dem turnout was already dramatically up because of Obama, and A48 absolutely increased turnout (of dems and pro-choice republicans) Here was the breakdown:

      Presidential 2,401,462

      United States Senator 2,331,712

      A48 2,310,016

      The dropoff between US President and A48 was only -3.81%.  The next three amendments broke down like this:

      A47 2,285,557 -4.83%

      A51 2,267,276 -5.59%

      A50 2,266,820 -5.61%

      further, 0.6 Million (27%)supported A48 versus a whopping 1.7 Million (73%)opposing the measure.  Any R that aligned themselves with the measure in non-batshit-crazy-districts lost the election.

    • Voyageur says:

      Is that there were eight TABOR-type amendments on the ballot, beginning in 1966, that failed before the final, ninth, version narrowly passed in 1992.  Bruce played a role in drafting and promoting the last three.

  4. Dan Willis says:

    The Sentinel’s description of the calculation did not make sense to me so I got a copy of the SoS’s press release and they had misquoted it.

    Here are the numbers:

    79,648 signatures submitted

    76,047 needed for the ballot.

    The ramdom sample checks the larger number of 4,000 or 5% of the signatues submitted. 5% of 79648 is 3802, so 4000 had to be checked.

    Of those:

    3031 were accepted

    969 were rejected

    this means they could project approx. 60,357 would have been accepted. If this projected number had fallen between 68,442 and 83,652, the SoS would have had to check every signature (ie-too close to call by ramdom sample). If it was above 83,652, the measure would go on the ballot.

    So it was well short of what was needed (8000 shy of just getting into the “check every signature range”. I would estimate the proponents need to turn at least 15,000 moe signatures to even hope to make it, and that would still be close.

  5. GOPwarrior says:

    We have to educate America. That’s what this says to me.

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