New campaign finance reports in for 2020 Colorado ballot measures show support campaigns ahead in fundraising

New campaign finance reports for Colorado ballot measures, which covered information through December 31, 2019, show support campaigns had raised more money than opposition campaigns.

So far, four measures are certified to appear on the November 2020 ballot in Colorado, including one legislatively referred bond issue, a veto referendum, and two citizen initiatives. No issue committees have registered to support or oppose the bond issue.

Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative:
The initiative would amend the Colorado Constitution to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. can vote in Colorado. The existing language says “every citizen” of the U.S. can vote. Current Colorado law requires U.S. citizenship to register to vote.

This measure is supported by Citizen Voters, Inc., a Florida-based not-for-profit organization founded by John Loudon that supports similar measures to amend state constitutions nationwide. Amendments to change constitutional language to explicitly require voters to be U.S. citizens are also on the 2020 ballot in Alabama and Florida.

Colorado Citizen Voters is the issue committee supporting the measure in Colorado. The committee reported $36,000 in cash contributions and $1.43 million in in-kind contributions. Citizen Voters, Inc. contributed 99.25% of the total contributions to the committee. The committee reported in $28,507 in cash expenditures.

There are no committees registered to oppose the initiative.

Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative:
The initiative would require the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves on designated lands west of the continental divide by the end of 2023.

One committee is registered to support the initiative: Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund (RMWAF). The committee reported $1.35 million in contributions and $1.32 million in expenditures. The top donor to the RMWAF, with contributions totaling $333,650, was the Tides Center, which describes itself as “a philanthropic partner and nonprofit accelerator dedicated to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice.”

Two committees are registered to oppose the initiative: Coloradans Defending Our Wildlife and Coloradans Protecting Wildlife. Coloradans Defending Our Wildlife had not yet reported campaign finance activity. Coloradans Protecting Wildlife reported $10,125 in cash contributions and $66.50 in cash expenditures. The top donor to the opposition campaign was the Colorado Farm Bureau, which gave $3,500.

National Popular Vote Referendum:
The referendum, if approved, would make Colorado part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) and give all of Colorado’s nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide if the NPVIC becomes effective.

Two committees are registered to support a yes vote on the referendum: Coloradans for National Popular Vote and Yes on National Popular Vote. Together, the committees reported $1.89 million in contributions and $454,436 in expenditures. The top donor to the support campaign was Stephen Silberstein, a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit National Popular Vote., who gave $500,000.

One committee registered to support a no vote on the referendum: Protect Colorado’s Vote. The committee reported $802,219 in contributions and $738,598 in expenditures. The top donor to the opposition campaign was the Better Jobs Coalition, which gave $105,000.

In 2018, Colorado was the #6 state with the most campaign finance activity reported for state ballot measure campaigns. Thirteen measures were on the ballot in Colorado in 2018. Combined, support and opposition campaigns spent $70 million supporting and opposing the 13 measures. The #1 state was California, with $363 million spent supporting and opposing 16 measures.

A total of 108 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Colorado during the 20-year period from 1999 through 2019. From 1999 through 2019, about 42% (45 of 108) of the total number of measures that appeared on the statewide ballot were approved, and about 58% (63 of 108) were defeated.

Additional Reading:
Colorado 2020 ballot measures
Ballot measure campaign finance, 2018