Tighter rules for constitutional ballot questions moves forward

DENVER—A vote of the House state affairs committee could set up a tougher process for putting constitutional amendments on the ballot in Colorado.

Saying that Colorado is the only state in which statutory and constitutional questions can be offered through the same process, the sponsors aim to set the bar higher before amendments can pass.

Opponents see the change as a new obstacle that takes power away from the voters and while giving more power to their elected lawmakers.

Currently, proponents of a ballot question have to gather 86,105 signatures to force a vote on either a statutory or constitutional ballot question. The constitutions requires a number of signatures equal to five percent of the turnout from the prior election.

HCR 1002 passed on a 9-2 vote in committee, setting up a debate in the full house.

The measure would double the required signatures for amendments to ten percent (currently 172,210) without changing the threshold for statutory questions.

In addition, HCR 1002 would require a portion of the signatures to come from each of Colorado's congressional districts, forcing proponents to seek signatures from rural areas.

The resolution would need to pass a 2/3 majority vote of lawmakers.

Ironically, that would place a constitutional question on the ballot. The new standard would only take effect if approved by voters.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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