Colorado Personhood Initiative Falls Short of Signatures

Rachel Larris

Supporters of the Colorado Personhood initiative have 14 days to get enough signatures to place a constitutional amendment defining zygotes as people on the ballot this fall.

Unless the supporters of the Colorado Personhood initiative can get enough signatures in the next 14 days, the proposed constitutional amendment to redefine personhood beginning at conception will not be on the ballot in Colorado this fall. KUSA-TV reported:

Volunteers with Personhood Colorado had said they collected nearly 4,000 more signatures than the 76,047 needed by the Feb. 12 deadline.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Bernie Buescher announced that a random 5-percent sample selected by computer found 969 invalid signatures. When using that sample to project the total number of valid signatures, the Secretary of State’s Office determined only 60,357 were valid.

The secretary of state has informed Colorado Personhood, the sponsors of the statewide initiative, they have until 3 p.m. on March 18 to submit additional valid signatures to make it to the ballot. In a press release, Keith Mason of Personhood Colorado, says his group can make that goal.

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“This is not unexpected news,” commented Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA. “We anticipated that this 15 day curing period would be evoked, and we have been diligently preparing to get over 1,000 signatures each day of the 15 day period. It will be a challenge, but we are ready to get started.”

“On March 18, we fully expect to have 15,690 valid signatures to submit to the secretary of State’s office, ensuring that the Personhood Amendment is on the 2010 ballot,” continued Mason. “Once the amendment is on the ballot, we will see that every person is protected by love and by law.”

On February 12 when Personhood Colorado announced they had enough signatures to make the ballot, Tyler Chafee, senior associate with RBI Strategies and Research, accurately predicted that due to the issue of signature validation, the initiative sponsors would be significantly short of the needed amount.

Mason told Westworld blog that the reason his group came up short was due to the fact the deadline fell before the President’s Day holiday when they had expected to collect many more signatures.

In 2008 when Colorado Personhood managed to get their constitutional amendment on the ballot, they turned in 131,000 signatures.

News Politics

NARAL Leader Campaigns to Oust Anti-Choice Colorado Congressman

Jason Salzman

NARAL Pro-Choice America officials have stepped up support for pro-choice Democrat Morgan Carroll in her competitive race against U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), who’s voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called voters this week on behalf of pro-choice Colorado state Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), who’s running against anti-choice U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

Hogue stopped by Carroll’s campaign office in a Denver suburb and called voters, in part, she told Rewire, because NARAL wants to “send a signal to the anti-choice legislators who are hiding from their anti-choice records when they come home at election time.”

Hogue pointed to Coffman’s repeated votes to defund Planned Parenthood—efforts based on discredited videos released by an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress. Coffman used a Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo in a political advertisement, despite having voted repeatedly to defund the organization, as first reported by Rewire. He voted again to defund Planned Parenthood after the ad aired.

“Mike Coffman has worked to defund women’s health centers and even fought to redefine rape,” Carroll said in a statement during Hogue’s visit. “Millions of women across this country simply can’t afford to have representatives like Mike Coffman in Congress.

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Coffman once co-sponsored a measure that redefined “a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only ‘forcible rape.'” Coffman’s campaign did not return a call seeking comment.

Coffman’s district, concentrated in the suburbs east of Denver, is perennially ranked as home to some of the nation’s most competitive political races. Coffman was first elected in 2008, two years before district boundaries were re-drawn, making for a much closer elections.

The Republican, a former U.S. Marine who has become known as a tough campaigner, surprised analysts by his ten-point margin of victory in 2014, after a narrow 2 percent margin in 2012.

Asked for a reaction to her phone calls on Carroll’s behalf, Hogue said she was encouraged by the candidate’s name recognition but dismayed by the apathy she encountered, though she noted that the election season is young.

“Particularly if we continue to hear that Trump is down by 15 points in polls, apathy is going to be a real issue in this election,” Hogue said. “People need to be made to feel that their vote matters. It matters at the top of the ticket. It certainly matters when you get down to the folks who are going to stay in the state house here [in Colorado] or go to D.C. and do the day-to-day work of moving this agenda forward. People need to hear that their participation has value.”

“We hope our investment in the field effort here puts Morgan Carroll a little bit closer to victory, but also builds power for NARAL members and the issue long term,” Hogue said. “Our job doesn’t end on Election Day. It begins on Election Day.”

Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: Anti-Choice Laws Keep Falling in States

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

Anti-choice laws in conservative-run states continue to fall by the wayside after Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

Attorneys for the State of Indiana say they will not appeal—for now at least—a federal court order blocking a law that bans abortions performed due to a fetus’ race, gender, or an genetic anomaly.

In Ohio, a federal judge temporarily extended an order blocking lawmakers from defunding Planned Parenthood while attorneys argue more about it in court later this month.

Also in Ohio, the state supreme court will decide if supporters of the $15 minimum wage campaign gathered enough valid signatures to put the wage hike on the ballot in November.

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled the state’s death penalty violates the U.S. Constitution.

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JPMorgan will pay former prisoners almost $500,000 in damages stemming from a lawsuit accusing the bank of bilking ex-inmates with exorbitant ATM and other fees after their release.

Illinois just enacted a comprehensive law designed to make sure health-care providers who raise conscience objections to such things as performing an abortion have written protocols for referrals and transfers, to ensure patient care does not suffer in the name of so-called religious rights. Of course, anti-choice groups have already challenged it.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently found that wearing a cap with an insignia of the Gadsen Flag—the one with the rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me”could be considered creating a racially charged workplace environment.

The price tag for passing unconstitutional abortion restrictions keeps going up. In Wisconsin, it’s reached more than $1 million for defending admitting privileges provisions struck by the U.S. Supreme Court.

OB-GYNs are calling Zika a “game changer” for practitioners in Florida, though no word yet on if politicians are paying any attention to those words.

Finally, nearly a year after 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a “suspicious-looking” homemade clock to his Irving, Texas, school, his family has filed a civil rights lawsuit suit against his former district, the principal of the high school, and the city of Irving.


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