Letter: 71 an anti-citizen amendment
The Legislature is responsible for two-thirds of the amendments to our state constitution, not citizens. Yet here comes Amendment 71, which attacks citizens.
The amendment’s proponents have pandered to rural voters claiming 71 will give them a voice, but it would do exactly the opposite.
You can put an issue on the ballot by getting signatures from anywhere in Colorado. But if 71 passes, you’ll have to get 2 percent of registered voters in Denver and Boulder to sign your petition along with every other state senate district. So 71 actually makes citizens in rural areas dependent on Denver and Boulder to get on the ballot.
And with the 2 percent requirement, any one of Colorado’s 35 state Senate districts could easily hold the entire state hostage to a policy that has broad-based support.
Supporters spent almost a million dollars in an attempt to satisfy their own proposed signature requirement. They failed, proving 71 would effectively kill the right of Coloradans to petition to get on the ballot.
Because constitutional amendments are subject to a statewide vote, everyone already has a voice.
Majority rule is the cornerstone of democracy. Yet 71 would abandon majority rule and require support from a 55 percent supermajority to put an amendment in the constitution. It’s a radical change. Did you know that giving women the right to vote did not receive support from 55 percent of voters?
The political influence of every common Coloradan will be reduced if 71 is adopted, no matter where you live. But legislators? Their political influence goes up. You’d be completely beholden to them to amend the constitution.
The problem in Colorado is that the signature requirement for statutory and constitutional amendments is the same. A better alternative for encouraging statutory amendments, as opposed to constitutional amendments, is to reduce the signature requirement for statutory amendments and make it difficult for the Legislature to tinker with such amendments.
Seventy-one is an anti-citizen amendment. Protect our fundamental right. Vote no on Amendment 71.
executive director, Judicial Integrity Project
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