A group seeking to adopt more restrictive constitutional language for voting in Colorado's elections announced they will submit over 200,000 signatures to the secretary of state on Tuesday for a 2020 ballot measure.
Colorado Citizen Voters, part of a larger national campaign, says it has met the threshold — pending validation — of 124,632 needed signatures.
The proposal, known as Initiative 76, changes two words in the state constitution. The current language in Article VII reads: “Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of eighteen years, has resided in this state not less than one year next preceding the election at which he offers to vote and in the county, city, town, ward, or precinct such time as may be prescribed by law, and has been duly registered as a voter if required by law shall be qualified to vote at all elections.”
If approved by voters, “every citizen” would change to “only a citizen.”
"Municipalities from coast to coast are allowing non-citizens to legally vote, from California to Illinois, to Vermont, Massachusetts and Maryland,” said Joe Stengel, the measure’s proponent and a Republican former state legislator. “Our initiative is important because we don't want this emerging trend in allowing non-citizen voting to come to Colorado."
Takoma Park, Maryland, has allowed non-citizen residents to vote in local elections since 1992. Last year, the voters of Montpelier, Vermont, amended their city’s charter to allow for the same.
"The intent of these new laws is not to allow illegal aliens to vote but to give legal non-citizens, also called legal permanent residents, a say in local affairs," University of Kentucky law professor Joshua A. Douglas told Politifact.
In July, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll wrote on Facebook that Initiative 76 “removes that guarantee” of every citizen being allowed to vote, adding that the change was “radical.”