More ballot binges ahead

It’s a small comfort, for those of us who believe the state Constitution should not be the playground for every special-interest group or individual with an agenda, to think that Referendum O lost only because it was at the bottom of a list of 18 statewide ballot initatives.

But accepting that argument would mean ignoring some pertinent recent history.

Referendum O would have made it more difficult to get amendments to the state Constitution on the ballot by
increasing the number of signatures required and mandating a portion of signatures come from each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

Some 52 percent of Colorado voters said “No” to Referendum O. And this isn’t the first time they rejected such a measure. Back in 1996, 59 percent of voters opposed a measure that would have required a 60 percent supermajority to approve a constitutional amendment.

And, just two years ago, by the huge margin of 69 percent, Coloradans shot down a plan that would have made it significantly easier to get citizens’ initiatives on the ballot.

Clearly, Coloradans are comfortable with the process as it is for amending the state Constitution, even if it means lengthy ballots like this year’s.

For the better part of a decade, people like former state Sen. Ron Teck and state Rep. Al White have worked tirelessly to try to get fellow lawmakers to refer something like Referendum O to state voters. White was finally successful this year.

We have supported those efforts each year. But, given the failure of Referendum O and past efforts to change the process, we won’t be surprised if it is some time before the Legislature pushes such a constitutional change again.


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