Colorado Personhood fails by wide margin to draw requisite number of signatures

The Secretary of State announced Wednesday that Personhood Colorado failed to turn in enough signatures in support of its anti-abortion initiative to place the proposal on the ballot in November. The group has until March 15 to gather roughly 15,000 more signatures.

egg as person

When the group turned in its signatures last month, it the low number of signatures seemed doomed to fail to pass the random sample check all petition drives undergo. It seemed clear, in other words, that the 2010 right to life “personhood” proposal was as unpopular as the 2008 version, which although it made it to the ballot, was swamped in defeat, with more than 70 percent of Colorado voters rejecting the measure.

The group’s amendment seeks to grant fertilized human eggs the full spectrum of rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens.

Personhood Colorado this year turned in 79,648 signatures, not even 4,000 more than the 76,047 needed to land the initiative on the ballot. Thousands of signatures are routinely thrown out in the process of validating initiative petitions.

Gualberto Garcia Jones, Director of Personhood Colorado, told the Colorado Independent last month that he felt “great” about turning in the signatures.

“It’s been a six month effort. We have worked with nearly no funds and we are really spread thin as we are helping all the other states [on their personhood initiatives].”

Jones said he had worked only with volunteers to gather the signatures and that this would be the first initiative ever to make it onto the Colorado ballot without the help of paid signature gatherers. All signs suggest now that the initiative will not appear on the ballot.

Often ballot initiatives are pushed by right and left groups in election years partly to simply get voters into the voting booths. In 2008, conservatives believed the personhood initiative would bring social conservatives out to help defeat Obama and put GOP candidates in office. Many Democrats believe the lightning rod initiative did the opposite, working in concert with the deep Obama grassroots movement to bringing out Democrats determined to defeat the measure.

The Secretary of State’s office randomly checked 4,000 of the 79,648 submitted signatures. Nearly 1000 of the 4000 signature-sample were rejected. That figure is used to project how many roughly of the total signatures would be invalid. Roughly 60,000 of the roughly 76,000 signatures required would be valid. Personhood Colorado has until March 18 to collect the rest.

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