Colorado voters face longest ballot in 96 years

Colorado voters haven’t faced a ballot this long since 1912, the first year citizens were able to initiate laws in the state. After striking a pro-affirmative action measure for insufficient signatures Wednesday night, the Secretary of State’s office drew a line under a total 18 statewide questions for the November ballot — 14 initiated by citizens and four referred by the State Legislature.

It’s also the longest ballot in the country, according to a tally by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Perennial leaders California and Oregon take second place this year with 12 ballot questions each.

Colorado voters considered a record 32 questions in 1912, but are unlikely to reach that number as it’s become more difficult to get measures on the ballot over the years. Referendum O, referred by the legislature this year, would add further requirements for constitutional amendments and ease access for statutory initiatives. All 14 of the initiated measures this year are constitutional amendments, which cannot be altered by the legislature once enacted.

Many of the Colorado questions this year concern labor, workplace and corporate issues, with business and labor interests offering dueling amendments.

Here’s a list of the questions qualified for the state ballot, with links to the most recent draft [PDF] of the Legislative Council’s “Blue Book” analysis on each:

Amendment 46 Discrimination and Preferential Treatment by Governments

Amendment 47 Prohibition on Mandatory Labor Union Membership and Dues

Amendment 48 Definition of Person

Amendment 49 Allowable Government Paycheck Deductions

Amendment 50 Limited Gaming in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek

Amendment 51 State Sales Tax Increase for Services for People with Developmental Disabilities

Amendment 52 Use of Severance Tax Revenue for Highways

Amendment 53 Criminal Accountability of Business Executives WITHDRAWN BY PROPONENTS

Amendment 54 Campaign Contributions from Certain Government Contractors

Amendment 55 Allowable Reasons for Employee Discharge or Suspension WITHDRAWN BY PROPONENTS

Amendment 56 Employer Responsibility for Health Insurance WITHDRAWN BY PROPONENTS

Amendment 57 Additional Remedies for Injured Employees WITHDRAWN BY PROPONENTS

Amendment 58 Severance Taxes on the Oil and Natural Gas Industry

Amendment 59 Education Funding and TABOR Rebates

Referendum L Qualifications for Serving in the State Legislature

Referendum M Obsolete Constitutional Provision Relating to Land Value Increases

Referendum N Obsolete Constitutional Provisions Relating to Alcohol Beverages

Referendum O Citizen-Initiated State Laws

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Ernest Luning

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