Today, we and a statewide coalition of organizations submitted an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Colorado Concern and Board member Dan Ritchie that argues Gov. Jared Polis does not have the constitutional authority to allow electronic signature gathering to qualify issues for the November ballot. Gov. Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 065 on May 15, suspending several laws related to signature collection and ballot qualification.
The coalition that filed the brief represents interests throughout Colorado – rural, urban, suburban and mountain communities, our state’s smallest businesses to some of our largest employers, and a variety of industries, including agriculture, education, energy, construction and housing. This coalition came together before the Governor issued this executive order and shared their concerns with Gov. Polis that the process he is implementing is unconstitutional and would lead to inequities among Colorado’s voters and risk our sound election process. Thirty-seven organizations sent a letter to Gov. Polis on April 28, outlining our concerns.
Signing petitions electronically would present a major barrier for a significant number of Colorado voters with little to no access to the internet, including as many as 85,000 rural households, as well as poor and elderly populations.
Similar lawsuits in Ohio and Arizona have recently confirmed that an elected official cannot unilaterally change a state constitution, including statutes that allow for electronic signature gathering for ballot initiatives. Two issues have already qualified for November’s ballot, and additional campaigns are actively collecting signatures following the constitution and laws of the state.
We know that the state has created safe ways to reopen businesses during a pandemic, and we believe the state can figure out how to allow voters to sign a document in person, especially when these signatures are so critical to a fair and equitable election.
Electronic signature gathering would also be more susceptible to voter fraud, jeopardizing our state’s hard-earned and well-managed election process. As other states grapple with election fraud, Colorado has consistently ranked high for its electoral integrity.
Coalition members signed onto the amicus brief include American Petroleum Institute, Associated General Contractors of Colorado, Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association, Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association, Colorado Association of Home Builders, Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors, Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, Colorado Business Roundtable, Colorado Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Contractors Association, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Dairy Farmers, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, Colorado Oil & Gas Association, Colorado Petroleum Association, Colorado Pork Producers Council, Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Denver Metro Building Owners & Managers Association, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors, Denver South Economic Development Partnership, Early Childhood Education Association, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, Freedom to Drive, Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce, Loveland Chamber of Commerce, National Pork Producers Council, Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Ready Colorado, South Metro Denver Chamber, Special Districts Association of Colorado, Upstate Colorado Economic Development and Vail Valley Partnership.
We continue to advocate on your behalf and believe we must come out strong against this executive order to protect our state constitution and the integrity of our elections. As we have said before, our number one priority during this time is to rebuild our economy by keeping your businesses viable and your employees on payroll.
Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.