I would like to respond to the concerns expressed by Golden resident Russell W. Haas in his letter to the editor published Oct. 20 regarding proposed Amendment 71. First, contrary to Mr. Haas’s assertions, I find the language of the ballot proposal adequately detailed and fail to see any “subterfuge” by of the proponents of 71 as alleged by Mr. Haas. In my estimation, Amendment 71 would make available to all Coloradans the powers defined in Article V Section 1(1) which currently reads “…THE PEOPLE reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and amendments to the constitution and to enact or reject the same at the polls independent of the general assembly.” Amendment 71 rightly assumes “THE PEOPLE” includes the many residents who live in the small towns and rural areas all across Colorado which in turn gives them a voice that heretofore has been disregarded in many cases. No one can reasonably argue that the interest of the residents of Denver and Boulder, (from which the majority of signatures are currently gathered), are representative of all “ THE PEOPLE” of Colorado. That said, it is a given that the number of signatures required would, and should be a significantly higher number. Mr. Haas expressed angst concerning this increased signature requirement and was disturbed that 71’s wording only gives the proposed ‘percentage’ of signatures required for a proposed Amendment and not an actual ‘number.’ I would point out to Mr. Haas that Colorado’s voting population is in flux from one year to another and the number of required signatures in any given election year is a moot point in relation to all subsequent election years. This is why subsection 2.5, (the section Mr. Haas wrongly quoted making it “incomprehensible”), reads: ‘…THE NUMBER OF … THE SENATE DISTRICTS AND THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED ELECTORS IN THE SENATE DISTRICTS SHALL BE THOSE IN EFFECT AT THE TIME …” As for Mr. Haas’s concern that some signatures may be from people “imaginary” or “dead”, I think I can safely say this too is a moot point as nowhere in the language of 71 does it rescind the verification process of valid signatures required by our Secretary of State. Finally, in regards to Mr. Haas’s dubious question concerning voters access to the state’s constitution, I can only assume that Mr. Haas has been living under a rock for the last 30 years. We now have a thing called the ‘internet’ where any and all information, including the text of the Colorado constitution can be found in a matter of seconds. To those few individuals who don’t have a personal computer in this day and age of high tech, I would direct them to their local library where not only would the librarians be able to provide the text of our constitution, but can likely provide a computer to find it on too! I think most reasonable people would agree that amending our state’s constitution should not be an easy task and I hope Mr. Haas would agree that when it is amended, it should represent the best interest of all “THE PEOPLE” of Colorado, and not just some.
Sincerely, Liz Matz