The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals imposed a stay on April 12 on a federal judge's previous order that lowered the bar on how petition signatures must be gathered for measures that would change the Colorado constitution, the Colorado Independent reported.
The issue dates to 2016 when Colorado voters approved Amendment 71, which required voters approve constitutional changes by a 55 percent margin, rather than a simple majority, and that petitioners obtain 2 percent of registered voters' signatures in each of the state's 35 Senate districts in order to get a measure on the ballot. This essentially abolished the practice of collecting signatures only along the busy Front Range. Pre-Amendment 71 measures included the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and recreational marijuana.
In response to a lawsuit trying to overturn Amendment 71, in late March, federal District Judge William Martinez tossed the requirement for signatures from every Senate district, ruling that the provision violates the "one person, one vote" doctrine.
The Colorado Secretary of State's office appealed to the 10th Circuit, which imposed a stay pending the outcome of the appeal. That means petitioners trying to meet the Aug. 6 deadline to get a measure on the November ballot are somewhat adrift as to which edict to follow. Since it's up in the air and no one knows when the court will rule, it's a fair bet that petitioners will shoot for rules contained in Amendment 71, meaning signatures must come from all 35 Senate districts.