The revelation that individuals with criminal histories are collecting petition signatures to put initiatives on the state ballot is being used by one political committee as campaign fodder against opponents.
Following a Denver 9NEWS broadcast last week that reported ex-cons were being paid to circulate petitions, asking registered voters to sign their names and addresses supporting a cause, political committee Protect Colorado’s Future issued a press release Friday chiding political adversaries for using convicted criminals to put their initiatives on the ballot.
Protect Colorado’s Future, a coalition of labor groups and left-leaning advocacy organizations, criticized campaigns targeting unions in the state for hiring petition circulator companies that do not require background checks of their signature collectors.
The primary targets of the ex-con dustup were Amendment 47, a "right-to-work" ballot measure to restrict the way unions organize, and Amendment 53, a proposal that seeks to restrict union dues deductions for public employees, which has not yet been certified for the ballot.
It took less than two days for a political committee to take the story about ex-con signature collectors and attempt to turn it into political ammo. Meanwhile, Protect Colorado’s Future is careful to note that those collecting signatures for the committee’s own initiatives toughening corporate fraud punishments and requiring just cause of employee terminations have all undergone background checks.
The deadline to turn in petition signatures to put initiatives up for a vote in 2008 is Aug. 4.