Friday History: The 1912 Ballot

We’ve been repeatedly told by the press that the 1912 ballot, the first one upon which citizen initiatives could appear, was the longest in Colorado history, with eighteen initiatives and twelve referrendums. 

What were people worried about then?  Colorado Legislative Services has the answer for us, as well as a recollection of how voters decided the issues.Most sought to implement progressive party issues: More voter control, utility regulation, eight hour work days, prohibition, the creation of Denver’s juvenile court, the merit system for civil servants, and a variety of measures releated to how state and local governments are funded.

* Providing wider control of schools by people: Rejected (40-59) 
* Women’s 8-hour employment law: Adopted (77-22) 
* Amending election laws and providing for a “headless ballot”: Adopted (57-47)
*  Providing for statewide prohibition: Rejected (39-60) 
* Mothers’ compensation act and aid to dependent and neglected children: Adopted (68-31) 
* Enforcement of prohibition laws by search and seizure: Rejected (44-55) 
* Reducing costs for publishing the constitutional amendments, initiated and referred laws, and publishing arguments for and against: Rejected (35-64) 
* Providing recall from office  Adopted (57-42)
* Creating a public utilities court with exclusive power to fix rates, and for appeal directly to the Supreme Court from its decisions: Rejected (34-  65) 
* Defining contempt of court and providing for trial by jury for contempt in certain cases: Rejected (43-56) 
* Eight hour law for work in underground mines, smelters, mills an coke ovens: Adopted (51-48) 
* Relating to civil service and amending the law thereon: Adopted ( 52-47) 
* Amending election laws: Rejected (49-50)
* Granting home rule for cities and towns: Adopted (52-47) 
* Providing for juvenile courts in cities and counties of 100,000 population: Adopted (57-42) 
* Establishing a state fair: Rejected  (48-51)
* Providing for regulation of public service corporations: Rejected (32-67) 
* Providing for the holding of special elections for voting on proposed constitutional amendments and initiated and referred laws: Rejected (45-54)

The referrenda were:
* Concerning examinations of teachers: Rejected (31-68)
* Authorizing a bonded indebtedness for public highways: Rejected (40-59)
* Concerning water rights and irrigation: Rejected (32-67)
* Giving the state highway commission control of certain funds: Rejected (49-50)
* Concerning the branding and making of livestock: Rejected (49-50)
* Creating a state tax commission in lieu of the state board of equalization and continuing county boards of equalization: Rejected (44-55)
* Eight-hour day for work in underground mines, smelters, coke ovens, etc.: Adopted (69-30)
* Construction of tunnel through James Peak: Rejected (32-67)
* Establishing teachers’ summer normal schools: Rejected (27-72)
* Providing that salaries of county, precinct and other officers need not be paid entirely from fees collected by said officers: Rejected (40-59)
* Raising limitation of county debts based on the assessed valuation of taxable property in the county: Rejected (38-61)
* Relating to the custody and management of public funds: Rejected (32-67)

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Andrew Oh-Willeke

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