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Personhood Backers Sue to Get on November Ballot

Colorado Personhood Coalition

Supporters of the personhood amendment filed a lawsuit Thursday in Denver District court as part of a last minute attempt to get the measure on the November ballot.

The move follows a ruling from the Secretary of State’s that said backers failed to turn in enough valid signatures.

"We believe we’ve earned the right to be on this ballot and so we’re going to fight for that," said supporter Gualberto Garcia Jones at a news conference. "Now, if the judge sees fit to put us on the 2014 ballot, so be it, this is a long fight for us, it’s a movement not a campaign."

It takes roughly 86,000 signatures for a citizen’s initiative to make the election ballot.  Supporters like Jones argue the Republican Secretary of State's office unfairly discarded thousands of valid signatures for minor technical reasons; an assertion state officials deny, saying they followed state law. 

Meantime supporters of the controversial amendment also blame their opponents for filing a lawsuit that cut short their time to gather signatures. 

But Crystal Clinkenbeard, the spokeswoman of the "No On Personhood" campaign, says that has no merit.

"If anyone knows how to get on the ballot it’s the proponents of this measure," Clinkenbeard said. "They did it in 2008, they did it in 2010, so it’s hard to believe that at this point they think the process has changed to be unfair to them."

The amendment, part of a national campaign, seeks to define "personhood" from the beginning of biological development and is widely seen as an effort to outlaw abortions.  Similar initiatives have failed in Colorado twice before. 

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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