After the campaign to ban abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy turned in signatures to the Secretary of State’s office last Wednesday to place the measure on Colorado’s November ballot, the official message from the campaign was one of confidence.
Asked by the Colorado Times Recorder last week whether fewer than 15,000 extra signatures provided enough of a buffer for those deemed invalid after the Secretary of State’s review, Lauren Castillo, a spokesperson for the “Due Date Too Late” campaign, underscored their belief that the initiative has enough momentum to put the question to voters in November.
“We’re confident we’ll make it on the ballot,” Castillo said. “In the case of a cure period, our group is ready for any challenges that come, and there’s been so much momentum in those last six days.”
But in a move that demonstrates anything but confidence in the likelihood that they’ve met their goal, Giuliana Day, a leader of the campaign has sued the Secretary of State for more time to gather signatures.
The complaint, which was filed just as the campaign was submitting petitions on their March 4 deadline, stipulates that there’s a discrepancy between Colorado’s constitution and Colorado statute regarding the amount of time ballot initiative campaigns have to circulate petitions.
It argues that the campaign should have until August 3 to collect signatures, which is consistent with the constitutional requirement that initiative petitions be filed three months before the general election in order to qualify, rather than the statutory requirement that petitions be filed six months from the date the initiative title is set or three months and three weeks prior to the election.
“Colorado citizens receive a high level of protection on their political speech rights that cannot be arbitrarily and unconstitutionally limited by a random regulatory deadline,” the complaint reads.
Day’s attorney, Suzanne Staiert, served as Deputy Secretary of State under Secretaries of State Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams, both Republicans, until Democrats swept control of the state agency in 2018.
Staiert did not respond to a request for comment seeking to know whether she was aware or concerned about potential inconsistencies between Colorado law and the state’s constitution when it comes to ballot initiative requirements during her time as one of the office’s top legal minds.
An email to Due Date Too Late requesting comment and asking why the campaign waited to file the complaint until the day they turned in petitions was also not returned.
Read the complaint below: