The proposal to ban slavery is back on the ballot. In a KOA interview (Oct. 22) with April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz, we discussed what happened to the proposal in 2016, the last time it appeared, and the difference this year as a part of KOA’s ongoing 2018 election coverage.
The proposal revises the 19th century language in the Colorado State Constitution that says slavery and involuntary servitude are banned except as punishment for a crime by removing the exception language. Changes will not affect prison work or community service programs.
In 2016, the proposal lost by 16,000 votes in an election with 2.2 million voters. Advocates believe it lost partially because it was near the end of the Blue Book and the ballot – Amendment T, now it’s toward the beginning – Amendment A. More than 250,000 people who voted did not vote on Amendment T.
Most importantly, they believe the ballot language in 2016 was confusing. It described the purpose of the amendment as “concerning the removal of the exception to the prohibition of slavery.” This time it very clearly says: “there shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude” and then strikes the “except as a punishment for crime” with lines clearly marked through the removed language.
Amendment A was referred unanimously by the Legislature, and as yet, has no registered opposition. There will still be some no votes from people who don’t like to change the Constitution or care for the symbolism of the change. So, we shall see the level of the no vote, but it’s assumed in 2018, Amendment A banning slavery will pass.