Analysis

HERE THEY COME AGAIN!

Amendment 71 is the biggest threat to our freedom on our state ballot. It will end our right to petition government for fundamental reform. Its promoters say we could still vote to change state statutes; the fact is, politicians can repeal such changes right after we pass them. They are really petitioning to end petitioning! They want to trick us into voting away citizen control of government—forever--an act of political suicide!

What’s wrong with 71? To create a “problem,” they first lie to us. They claim we have “the easiest constitution to amend.” False. All state constitutions are changed only by voter approval. Petition signing changes no laws; it simply seeks the right to vote. Amendment 71 will end voting on ballot issues by ending effective petitioning. They call it “raising the bar.”

Their new “bar” to petitions requires not only 100,000 valid signatures statewide, but from 2% of registered electors in each of 35 state senate districts. If you meet this rigid goal in only 34 districts, too bad-- you lose. No one gets to vote. Signatures are rigged by a GEOGRAPHIC QUOTA. America’s heritage of one person, one vote won’t apply to our First Amendment right to petition. Quotas based on residency are as unconstitutional as those based on age, race, gender, income, or religion; the U. S. Supreme Court so ruled in 1962. Will 71’s promoters next push discriminatory quotas using those other factors? Why not require politicians win in every county? Aren’t you tired of political manipulators who DIVIDE us into random groups rather than treat us all as UNITED States citizens?

Their second new “bar” REPEALS MAJORITY RULE in Colorado. Really. You can’t get more un-American than that! The “no” votes of 45.1% of citizens would outweigh the “yes” votes of 54.9%. A voter-approved reform wins but still loses! Destroying democracy is even more radical than quotas. All 50 states now count votes equally.

Does it restrict politicians proposing amendments? NO. Legislators can still propose constitutional amendments with only 68 votes (!) Petitions now need 150,000 signatures to cover hostile governmental rejection for petty technicalities and still end up with 100,000 “valid” signatures. Which is the “easier” process? Why doesn’t 71 limit the politicians?

Why are they doing this? Their own words, to be put in our constitution, state their goal is “to make it more difficult to amend this constitution.” They say they want to “protect” the constitution from ideas they dislike. Every constitution is a limit on government. The U. S. Constitution starts, “We the People,” not “We the Politicians.” The pro-71 committee name even says they want to put petitioning behind “bars,” revealing their authoritarian mentality. Their TV spokesman, John Suthers, former chief prosecutor of Colorado, has that jail mindset to punish average people. We must keep checks and balances on runaway government and corrupt politicians. Only limits on them will truly protect our freedom.

How will entries be checked? How will petitioners know they have enough in each area? Now, election officials test a “random” 5% of filed entries for validity. Issue 71 will add 35 district tests, so they must review every entry filed (issue 71 bought 183,000 entries). Each petition must pass all 36 tests. If six petitions are filed at the legal deadline, that could be individual scrutiny at taxpayer expense of over ONE MILLION ENTRIES in 30 days.

Who is backing 71? “Follow the money.” By September 14, they raised $2.7 MILLION to trick you into voting away your rights. It comes from special interests. Look at the Big Money. They mean to crush “the little people.” Psst, that’s YOU.

Are they hypocrites? Yes. Their own petition will amend the constitution, but they don’t want you to have that right. They don’t apply their own rules--the new geographic quota to get on the ballot and a new super-majority to pass their issue. They know it’s impossible!

Did they keep a loophole for themselves? Of course. Since they hate our constitution,

71 says their new super-majority rule does not apply to repealing our current rights, like term limits, tax limits, campaign finance laws, ethics in government, freedoms of press and speech and religion, jury trials, property rights, and other controls on government. Their new geographic signature quota would still apply to future petitions. Why? They want all future amendments to come from politicians, not the people. Kiss real reforms good-bye.

Are petitions “easy?” NO. Their own essay claims our constitution is “easy to amend” (false) but that it is then nearly impossible to change. Their self-contradiction is nonsense. They want to make reforms vanish. Their spending vast amounts shows passing petitions is hard. They spent huge sums to buy signatures because they lack grassroots support for their scheme. Future issues will use only highly-paid petitioners to go to rural areas, stay in motels, and collect a few signers a day. Few can handle such rules; they’re poison pills.

Have they attacked democracy before? Yes. In 1996, voters crushed by a 243,000 vote margin their scheme to require 60% voter approval of constitutional changes. They also lost in 2008. Now they’re back again, showing contempt for voters and the rule of law.

How can we stop 71? Download and distribute 500 fliers at busy store exit doors; it takes two hours. Email this essay to everyone you know. Call talk radio. Write letters listing this website to many CO newspapers. Speak to every group you can. Email us for other ideas.

Do you still believe in “We the People?” Do you support our First Amendment right to petition government? Do you honor equal treatment in the law for all citizens? Freedom is the right to make choices. These vicious authoritarians want to trick you into voting to have fewer choices and less freedom. This vote will be irreversible because they will have “raised the bar” to block all real reforms. Don’t let shadowy governmental elitists kidnap our Constitution. If you don’t defend your freedom, and that of your family, who will?