On May 15, Governor Jared Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 065, which suspends a number of laws related to signature collection, ballot qualification and elections and orders the Secretary of State’s Office to develop rules for electronic and mail signature gathering.
The Grand Junction Chamber Board of Directors at the May meeting affirmed that our organization was joining a coalition of over 40 entities representing a broad spectrum of interests in legally challenging Governor Polis’s Executive Order.
Our rationale for this action includes the following considerations:
The Executive Order violates our state constitution.
Only we, the voters of Colorado, can amend our state’s constitution and no individual elected official or office can change what we as citizens decide, even during challenging times.
Our opposition doesn’t have to do with any one initiative. It has to do with a violation of our constitution.
Our firm belief is that no individual or office can violate the law simply because it’s more convenient or easier than following it.
We could never support a process that creates such inequities for the citizens of our state.
The proposed process excludes many Coloradans from participation, either because they don’t have access or can’t afford internet service or technology, like computers, printers and smartphones. A smaller group of Coloradans with access to these resources would have an unfair advantage to put their issues on the ballot, leaving our state’s rural, elderly and lower income populations out of our election process.
The process outlined in the state constitution works, even during a pandemic.
The process in place today provides clear access to the ballot as evidenced by the fact that two citizen-initiated ballot issues have already qualified for this year’s November ballot. Additional campaigns have publicly indicated that they are actively and successfully collecting signatures currently, putting into question the necessity of the executive order. There are always going to be risks and challenges with filing ballot issues late, and we can’t compromise our constitution simply because proponents waited to file and begin gathering signatures. It seems unreasonable that the state has created safe ways to reopen businesses during a pandemic but cannot figure out how to allow voters to sign a document in person, especially when these signatures are so critical to a fair and equitable election.