DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis signed three executive orders surrounding elections and ballots. The orders help ensure ballot access and elections process.
One order allows for in-person signature gathering with guidelines that abide by a coronavirus disaster emergency declaration, as well as gives the Secretary of State authority to create temporary rules for issue petitions to be received and returned over mail and email.
Another order allows registered electors to sign petitions for unaffiliated or independent candidates without a petition circulator present, temporarily.
The third order was extended to limit contact between people for 2020 elections. The order clarifies elections as a critical government function.
“Protecting our democracy, access to the ballot and making sure citizens can qualify ballot measures and can qualify as candidates to run for office during this time is critical,” said Polis.
Earlier this week, Polis reiterated his position on mail-in ballots and mail voting and why it remains so popular in Colorado. He said that he hopes the method will continue to spread across the states that aren’t currently using mail-in ballots.
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in opposition to the executive orders:
“This executive order is in violation of our constitution. Only we, the voters of Colorado, can amend our state’s constitution and no individual elected official or office can change what we as citizens decide, even during challenging times. Beyond violating our constitution, we are also concerned that the proposed process excludes many Coloradans from participation, either because they don’t have access or can’t afford internet service or technology, like computers, printers and smart phones. A smaller group of Coloradans with access to these resources would have an unfair advantage to put their issues on the ballot, leaving our state’s rural, elderly and lower income populations out of our election process. We could never support a process that creates such inequities for the citizens of our state. The process in place today provides clear access to the ballot as evidenced by the fact that two citizen-initiated ballot issues have already qualified for this year’s November ballot. There are always going to be risks and challenges with filing ballot issues late, and we can’t compromise our constitution simply because proponents waited to file and begin gathering signatures,” said Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.