Anti-Oil & Gas Signatures will be Counted Last; ‘Amending the Constitution’ Measure Clears Ballot Today

Lynn Bartels, communications director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, told Oil & Gas 360® yesterday that two anti-oil and gas initiatives, which were turned in by signature collectors right as the deadline bell sounded last week, are the last in line to be counted behind four other initiatives.

“Generally we turn them in in the order we receive them, which means ‘amending the constitution’ [initiative] is next, then the cigarette tax, then the [two Colorado] primary measures, then oil and gas,” Bartels said, referring to the other initiatives trying to make the November ballot.

Today, the Secretary of State moved one more ballot issue out of the queue when the office announced that the initiative to make it more strenuous to create an amendment to the Colorado constitution has scored enough valid signatures to be placed on the November ballot. That leaves just three more initiatives to be counted and verified before the signatures on the two anti- oil and gas petitions are counted–the cigarette tax and two Colorado primary initiatives are up next.

There has been speculation that the boxes of petitions turned in for initiative 75—a proposed constitutional amendment that leaves it to local municipalities to say whether drilling and hydraulic fracturing are permitted—and initiative 78—a proposed amendment requiring a mandatory 2,500 setback for oil and gas operations—will not have enough validated signatures to make the ballot in November.

Oil & Gas 360® reported earlier on the projected negative effect that these ballot initiatives could have on the oil and gas industry and on the economy of the state if they make it onto the November ballot and are passed by Colorado’s voters, making them part of the state’s constitution.

Signature Count Math

Various analysts and initiatives watchers have estimated that the boxes of petitions that were turned in contained just over 100,000 signatures in favor of each proposal, but in order to be certified for the ballot, the Secretary of State takes the signatures through a process to determine the percentage of valid signatures vs. invalid ones and the bottom line is that most initiatives need far more total signatures than the minimum requirement to make the ballot, which is roughly 98,500 valid signatures.

One of the issues that was certified for the ballot by the Secretary of State was announced yesterday in a press release which outlines the math:

“Backers of the Medical Aid in Dying proposal on Aug. 4. submitted their signatures. A 5-percent random sample of the submitted signatures projected the number of valid signatures to be greater than 110 percent of the total number of signatures required for placement on the ballot,” the Secretary of State explained.

Petition Verification Summary for Medical Aid in Dying Initiative:

Total number of qualified signatures submitted 155,676
5% of qualified signatures submitted (random sample) 7,784
Total number of entries accepted (valid) from the random sample 5,439
Total number of entries rejected (invalid) from the random sample 2,345
Number of projected valid signatures from the random sample 108,777
Total number of signatures required for placement on ballot 98,492
Projected percentage of required valid signatures 110.44%


Some media outlets are reporting that the environmental movement’s latest effort to shut down fossil fuel development in Colorado has become an unpopular political football among the people running the Clinton campaign, saying that an industry-backed media fight leading up to the election weighs in favor of defeating the proposed amendments.

Oil and Gas 360® asked Bartels if 75 and 78 generated more questions for the Secretary of State than other initiatives?

“By far, including calls from investment firms,” Bartels said.

Regarding the fate of the two anti-oil and gas initiatives, Bartels said, “We have not counted the signatures so we are not announcing anything.”

The Secretary of State has until September 7 to announce the status of the campaigns to get 75 and 78 onto the ballot.


Legal Notice