In a letter released on Monday, 32 Democratic state lawmakers called on Coloradans to vote no on Amendment 76, condemning the measure as a “cynical, misguided initiative.” Legislators – including the Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, and several other high-ranking officials – decried the amendment as a “direct attack on Colorado’s youngest voters and our immigrant community,” saying that it will disenfranchise thousands of young voters and cause fear and confusion among immigrants who are legally allowed to vote as naturalized citizens. The lawmakers also took issue with Amendment 76’s origins, driven by the Florida-based PAC Citizen Voters, Inc. that was founded and funded by conservative activists Gina and John Loudon, members of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, calling it an effort to “meddle” in Colorado elections.
“Amendment 76 is trying to leverage anti-immigrant rhetoric to attack our elections and that’s why I’m urging all Coloradans to vote No on 76.”
Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutiérrez
Notably, the legislators cited the damage Amendment 76 would do to their recent efforts to make Colorado’s voting system more accessible. If passed, Amendment 76 would likely nullify the Colorado Votes Act that passed in 2019 and empowered 17-year-olds who would turn 18 by election day to vote in the state’s primary elections. The letter states, “Tens of thousands of newly eligible young voters eager to participate in our democracy would be disenfranchised each primary season by Amendment 76.” The letter also expressed concern that Amendment 76 would reverse Colorado’s standing as a leader in secure and accessible election systems. If passed, Amendment 76 would open the door to more restrictive voter ID rules that are often blamed for voter suppression in other states.
Lawmakers further criticized the amendment as “part of a larger national anti-immigrant movement to spread unfounded and xenophobic narratives that undocumented people are fraudulently voting in elections.” No evidence of widespread voter fraud or illegal non-citizen voting has ever been found in multiple non-partisan national studies. Amendment 76 would not change any laws or rules about citizenship requirements to vote, as it is already illegal for non-citizens to vote in any election. Instead, legislators wrote, the only law it would affect seems to be the Colorado Votes Act and some analysts even argued that the amendment would still not bar local municipalities from allowing non-citizens to vote at a later date.
“I have supported multiple efforts to help young people’s voices be heard in elections as early as possible because it makes our democracy stronger,” Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutiérrez said. “Amendment 76 is trying to leverage anti-immigrant rhetoric to attack our elections and that’s why I’m urging all Coloradans to vote No on 76.”
The full text of the Colorado legislators’ letter and a list of its signatories can be found at: https://aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Legislative-Sign-on.pdf
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