A71 celebration: Victory for the grassroots in Colorado!

Great news for Coloradans and health care

Amendment 71’s 2 percent signature quota is out

After a “Raise the Bar” campaign funded by big oil and gas succeeded in passing Amendment 71 in November, 2016, grassroots activists wondered if regular Coloradans would ever again be able to put a ballot question before the people of Colorado.

This week, federal district Judge William J. Martinez blocked the state of Colorado from enforcing the part of Amendment 71 that would have made it crazy expensive-to-impossible for a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens to give Coloradans a chance to vote to change their own Constitution.

Judge Martinez agreed with attorney (and Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care board member) Ralph Ogden that requiring 2 percent of the registered voters in each of Colorado‘s 35 senate districts to sign a petition for it to make the ballot is unconstitutional.

“Judge Martinez’s ruling is a victory for Coloradans and health care,” said Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care Executive Director Ivan J. Miller, Ph.D. “The intent and result of Amendment 71 was to make ballot initiatives, like the ColoradoCare Amendment 69, so difficult and expensive that, grassroots activists would have little chance of ever again putting an amendment on the ballot.”

Colorado‘s senate districts vary in size, with one district containing as much as 60 percent more registered voters than another. This difference in size makes votes (signatures) in some districts count more than votes (signatures) in others, which violates the one-person, one-vote principle in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Secretary of State, who was named as the defendant in the case, has said he’ll appeal and has asked for a “stay” until the higher court rules. For now, unless the appeals court decides to review the case and delay implementation, the 2 percent requirement is gone. 

Amendment 71 still makes it harder to amend the state constitution: Now 55 percent of Coloradans would need to vote for an amendment (rather than simple majority pre-A71) for it to pass.

But activists like you have never shied away from a challenge.

You just look for an opportunity. At least for now, Judge Martinez has given us back that chance.


Thanks so much for you, the grassroots in Colorado, fighting to make change for the benefit of ALL Coloradans. You have our support.

We’d love to have yours, today, too.

Thank you,

~Sara Wright, Director of Communications
Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care
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