Initiative 75 (local government control over oil and gas) and 78 (mandatory 2,500-ft. setback) fall short of required signatures
The Colorado Secretary of State issued a press release today, explaining how two anti-oil & gas initiatives failed to achieve the minimum number of required signatures to make the November ballot.
If either attempt had succeeded, it would have put the fate of oil and gas development in Colorado into the hands of voters.
“Supporters didn’t collect enough valid voter signatures,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced in today’s press release.
“Citizens who are trying to get an issue on the ballot must submit 98,492 voter signatures. Supporters of the two measures collected more than that for each proposal, but not enough to compensate for the number of signatures that were rejected during the random sample,” the Secretary said in the release.
The proposals, had they made the ballot, would have asked voters to approve two amendments to the Colorado constitution that would have severely limited oil and gas development in the state. Colorado is seventh in the U.S. for oil and natural gas production.
Initiative 75 would have given local governments control over oil and gas operations and initiative 78 would have imposed a mandatory 2,500-foot setback on new oil and gas operations.
A 5-percent random sample must project the number of valid signatures to be greater than 110 percent of the total number of signatures required for placement on the ballot. Both failed to achieve the Secretary of State’s required signature count.
Potentially Forged Signatures on No. 78 were Turned over to the Colorado Attorney General
The Secretary of State reported that for No. 78, the petition processing team identified a petition section that contains several potentially forged signature lines. “Although the Secretary of State does not conduct signature verification when reviewing petitions, our office has referred the questionable section to the Attorney General’s office for investigation. The section, numbered 2109, had no lines marked for review in the random sample,” the Secretary of State’s office said.
Signature Counting Math
Petition verification summary for No. 75 (local control initiative):
|Total number of qualified signatures submitted||
|5% of qualified signatures submitted (random sample)||5,362|
|Total number of entries accepted (valid) from the random sample||3,982|
|Total number of entries rejected (invalid) from the random sample||1,380|
|Number of projected valid signatures from the random sample||79,634|
|Total number of signatures required for placement on ballot||98,942|
|Projected percentage of required valid signatures||80.85%|
Petition verification summary for No. 78 (setback initiative):
|Total number of qualified signatures submitted||106,626|
|5% of qualified signatures submitted (random sample)||5,332|
|Total number of entries accepted (valid) from the random sample||3,856|
|Total number of entries rejected (invalid) from the random sample||1,476|
|Number of projected valid signatures from the random sample||77,109|
|Total number of signatures required for placement on ballot||98,492|
|Projected percentage of required valid signatures||78.29%|
For comparison, a number of other proposals succeeded in gaining enough valid signatures to make the ballot. Here is how the numbers ended up:
No. 20, State health care system: 158,831 signatures, 110.80%
No. 101, State minimum wage: 189,419 signatures, 116.70%
No. 145, Medical aid in dying: 155,676 signatures, 110.44%
No. 96, Requirements for constitutional amendments: 183,691 signatures, 129%
No. 143, New cigarette and tobacco taxes: 161,412 signatures, 118.74%
No. 98, Primary elections: 147,707 signatures, 110.15%
No. 140, Presidential primary election: 152,213 signatures, 111.39%
The proponents of the two failed initiatives, both of which are backed by global environmental organizations 350.org and Greenpeace, have 30 days from today to appeal the decision to the Denver District Court.
Future Citizen Amendments Could Face Higher Hurdles if Colorado Voters Pass 96 in November
On a related matter, future attempts to amend Colorado’s constitution to impede energy development could face a more difficult process. If Initiative 96 is passed by voters on the November 2016 ballot, henceforth a citizen initiative will require a certain percentage of signatures from all of Colorado’s individual senate districts to place a proposed amendment on the ballot, replacing the general statewide voter percentage that can be collected in only one or two cities.
News should Relieve Ballot Issue Downdraft on Colorado Energy Stocks
Most securities analysts covering companies with DJ basin and Piceance operations have forecast better stock performance if the two anti-oil and gas amendments failed to gain enough signatures. Companies with Colorado operations include Noble Energy (ticker: NBL), Anadarko Petroleum (ticker: APC), PDC Energy (ticker: PDCE), Synergy Resources (ticker: SYRG), Bill Barrett Corporation (ticker: BBG), Bonanza Creek Energy (ticker: BCEI), Whiting Petroleum (ticker: WLL) and others.