Amendment 38, one of the 14 ballot measures in the Nov. 7 general election, is the proposal to change the Colorado Constitution in four ways. According to the analysis of the 2006 ballot proposals (Blue Book) they are:
– Expand the ability of Coloradans to propose changes to the state and local laws.
– Modify the current procedures for proposing changes to the laws.
– Limit the governing bodies’ ability to change, enact or repeal measures proposed by citizens and decided by voters.
– Limit the number of measures governing bodies may exempt from voter challenge.
This year’s Blue Book was the largest in recent history and is the center of the debate for Amendment 38. Some Colorado residents find that it is too long.
“Andrew Romanoff is the Stephen King of the horror novel that is this year’s Blue Book,” said Mason Tvert, executive director for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation.
Romanoff, who is opposed to Amendment 38, is the speaker of the house and the chairman of the executive committee that produced the Blue Book.
One of the proponents of this amendment is the Independence Institute, which is a Colorado-based think tank. Jessica Peck Corry, a CU graduate and the organization’s spokesperson, thinks that the language within the Blue Book is not objective and the writers of the analysis have deceived the voters of Colorado by not allowing both sides of all measures to have their say.
“Government lawyers lied when they wrote the Blue Book,” Corry said.
Corry and her group argued that the current system is not allowing people the kind of government access they should have. Independence Institute wants to make it easier to put measures on the ballot.
“People should not have to hire lawyers or pay money to get a measure on the ballot,” Corry said.
If passed, Amendment 38 will change the Blue Book. Currently, the analysis is written by the state legislature’s nonpartisan staff and then reviewed by legislators. The process for the Blue Book under Amendment 38 will allow comments up to 1,000 words from the proponents of the measure and an equal number of words against it.
But there are other residents who think that having each side present its case in the Blue Book will create a biased analysis that will not be helpful for voters.
“The point of the Blue Book is to have no bias; it needs to be factual,” said Neil Robertson a junior political science major. “I am against the amendment.”
Opponents of the amendment believe that by easing the requirements, the petition process will become a tool for getting a lot more measures on the ballot. Romanoff said that Colorado is already one of the easiest states to get measures on the ballot.
If Amendment 38 passes, the number of signatures required to get a measure on the ballot will not change; however, petitioners will have 12 months instead of the current six months to collect signatures.
Some students recognize the importance of understanding the issues in the upcoming election and are making it a point to learn more about them.
“I’m going to read more about the amendment,” said Amy Foote, a sophomore integrative physiology major. “But I think too many measures on the ballot will discourage voters from understanding them all.”