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Colorado Could Have 11 Initiatives On The November Ballot

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - Eleven statewide initiatives could be on the November ballot in Colorado.

Monday was the deadline for turning in signatures to the Secretary of State's Office. Petitions for two anti-fracking measures arrived in half-empty boxes.

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The spokeswoman for the secretary of state, Lynn Bartels, says it's hard to know what to make of all the half-empty boxes.

"It is unusual because other measures that were turned in, the petitions were scanned in by our staff and put back in their original boxes to be sent down to Pueblo to the state agency to be checked and they maybe had five boxes left over. This was boxes and boxes and boxes. That may not mean anything but it may mean something," Bartels said.

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One of the measures allows local governments to have more control over fracking regulations. The other requires a greater distance between drilling sites and homes.

Frack Free Colorado -- one of the groups behind the initiatives -- posted video on Facebook boasting that they had so many signatures they needed a truck to deliver them. They need about 98,000 signatures to make the ballot. They say they turned in more than 100,000.

The secretary of state has until Sept. 7 to certify the petitions.

Nearly 160 initiatives were initially submitted this year. Petitions for nine ended up being turned in and the Legislature referred two measures -- one eliminating an obscure exemption to slavery and the other deals with a property tax exemption.

Among those that still needs to be certified is an "aid in dying" measure. After the state Legislature twice refused to pass legislation allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medicine for people who are dying, voters could now decide whether Colorado will join five other states in legalizing assisted suicide.

The future of Colorado's health care system also on the line this election. The Colorado Care initiative -- the only one certified for the ballot so far -- would replace Obamacare with a single-payer state-run system. A separate measure would raise money for health-related programs by raising taxes on tobacco products.

The state could have the third-highest minimum wage in the country under another initiative that would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour over the next four years.

And, two ballot measures dealing with primary elections could be on the ballot. One of them would restore the presidential primary and the other would open all primaries to unaffiliated voters.

Most of the initiatives are constitutional amendments, including one to make it more difficult to amend the constitution in the future. It would require 55 percent approval instead of a simple majority to pass an amendment and signatures from every part of the state.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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