The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the Colorado Pork Producers Council joined a diverse coalition in filing an amicus brief opposed to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis's decision to allow canvassing for ballot initiative signatures to take place electronically.
The governor's decision, which they said is in clear violation of the Colorado Constitution, would substantially lower the threshold for placing ballot initiatives before voters in this November's election.
It comes as The Human Society of the United States and other activist groups seek to place an initiative before Colorado voters that would be similar to California's Proposition 12, which imposes animal housing standards that reach outside of the state's borders to farms across the U.S. and beyond.
The Colorado Farm Animal Confinement Standards Initiative (#314) may appear on the ballot in Colorado on Nov. 3, 2020, as an initiated state statute. The initiative would establish confinement standards for certain farm animals, including egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and calves raised for veal. The initiative would create fines for violations of confinement standards, according to Ballotpedia.
In Colorado, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 5% of the total number of votes cast for the office of Colorado secretary of state in the preceding general election, which is 124,623 valid signatures by Aug. 3, 2020. State law provides that petitioners have six months to collect signatures after the ballot language and title are finalized. State statutes say a completed signature petition must be filed three months and three weeks before the election at which the measure would appear on the ballot. The Constitution, however, says the petition must be filed three months before the election at which the measure would appear.
“Leaving the executive order in place would also create bizarre outcomes. You can safely sign your takeout order in person. You can safely sign for that FedEx package in person, and you can safely sign an initiative petition for an upcoming municipal election, but according to the executive order, the one thing you cannot safely sign in person is a statewide ballot initiative. That cannot be right,” the groups stated.