Tuesday, December 12

Ballot Access in Colorado Hb11-1072

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While I understand the widespread frustration with having to navigate numerous and often times unsound propositions, I am of the opinion that the inconvenience of liberty is preferable to its abolition. Vacating or entangling my, your or any Coloradan’s access to the ballot is far more dangerous than any nonsensical or distasteful proposition that may exploit this opportunity to exist.
Further, I am troubled by the idea of a chamber of commerce, seemingly designed to promote the betterment of the community and its commerce, would side with the state in suggesting the low price of ballot convenience to be fair recompense.
I believe it was Ben Franklin who observed that there are but four boxes separating liberty from tyranny; soap, jury, ballot and cartridge. To me, his point is sound and I cannot lend my name in support of the dismantling of liberty.If the issue is not one of principle but one of practicality, then perhaps one can embrace the idea that ballot issues need not be directed by the citizenry but can properly be filtered through a “Title Board” or other such committee with no jeopardy to liberty.
In examining the bill from a practical standpoint, it presents a number of obstacles to ballot access in the form of language requirements, signature requirements, deadlines, application procedures, approval flows, processes to cure etc.
If the primary source of injury incurred in previous elections has originated from single citizens or loosely associated citizens, lightly funded and poorly educated on the law, this bill may provide adequate barriers to access going forward.
If the primary source of injury incurred in previous elections has come from out of state interests or other well funded organizations, well organized and educated on current legal requirements this bill will surely change how they get measures to the ballot but cannot be seen as a credible impediment since it provides a map to access for those capable of following it.
From a practical standpoint, it would be necessary to ban ballot access altogether for economic or whatever other justifications may seem most palatable. Short of embracing this concept, I am unclear as to how such undesirable but well funded measures will be filtered. This bill can be seen as a first step on that journey or just an empty banner the measure’s supporters can wave come election time to show they did something to address the issue. Upon evaluating what this bill actually does, I do not see how this matches with the goal of reducing well organized and expensive ballot clutter.

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