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Amendment 71 challenged as unconstitutional in federal court


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Attorney Ralph Ogden on Monday, April 24th, filed a complaint in federal court challenging Amendment 71 as unconstitutional. The measure, passed by voters in November, requires that signatures on petitions must represent at least 2 percent of the registered voters in each of the state's 35 senate districts. It also requires that 55 percent of voters vote "yes" to pass a measure rather than a simple majority. Previously, ballot measure petitions required signatures from 5 percent of registered voters in the state, regardless of where they lived.

Among the plaintiffs is Co-operate Colorado, which worked on a ballot measure that would have provided health care to all Coloradans, which failed miserably at the polls.

The objection of many, including both progressives and conservatives, is the new requirements make it nearly impossible to gather ample signatures without spending a lot of money to hire signature gatherers, Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, which backs the court challenge, said in a release. In a nutshell, the group argues, the measure violates the First and 14th amendments by allowing one Senate district to nullify individuals' signatures across the state, restrict and force core political speech, limit what voters can vote on, and make it far more expensive for citizens to participate in the political process.

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