On Wednesday, civic engagement, youth empowerment, and immigrants’ rights activists launched their Campaign for Real Election Protection to oppose Amendment 76, an anti-immigrant measure that disenfranchises 17-year old voters and confuses immigrants who have become citizens. Amendment 76 would reverse Colorado’s recent legislative efforts to empower 17-year olds to vote in the state’s primary elections by changing one word in a key provision of Colorado’s Constitution. The coalition states that Amendment 76 would suppress youth voter participation and turnout in future Colorado elections, and cause fear and confusion in the immigrant community.
“Many immigrant voters, who can rightfully participate in our democracy because they have gained their citizenship, could be dissuaded from using their voting rights if Amendment 76 passes,” said Raquel Lane-Arellano, Policy Director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Action Fund. “Amendment 76 is a blatant and racist attack against Colorado immigrants with a clear attempt to draw out anti-immigrant voters.”
If passed, Amendment 76 would not change any laws or rules about citizenship requirements to vote; instead, it would immediately take away the right of nearly 24,000 17-year olds to participate in primary elections and tens of thousands more every year after that. Election access advocates and youth civic engagement groups passed legislation winning the 17-year old primary voting change in 2019. Amendment 76 would reverse the progress Colorado has made to ensure one of the country’s most secure and accessible election systems.
“Voting fraud is so rare that it makes up 0.0024% of votes nationwide, and non-citizens already can’t vote,” said Campaign for Real Election Protection, Campaign Manager Julián Camera. “That’s how we know that Amendment 76 is about suppressing voter turnout, not stopping fraud.”
Amendment 76 made its way onto the ballot with out-of-state funding from Citizen Voters Inc., a Florida-based political action committee (PAC) that has been pushing similar constitutional language changes state-by-state. This amendment is a part of a larger national anti-immigrant movement spreading unfounded and xenophobic narratives that undocumented people are fraudulently voting in elections — a narrative widely perpetuated by the Trump administration.
The coalition calling on Coloradans to vote NO on Amendment 76 this November includes: CIRC Action Fund, Project VOYCE, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Progress Now Colorado, New Era Colorado, Colorado Common Cause, America Votes, Colorado Working Families Party, Indivisible Colorado Action Network, COLOR Action Fund, Conservation Colorado – Protégete, Student Voice Student Vote, SEIU Local 105 and ACLU of Colorado.
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