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Colorado Amendment to Remove Slavery Reference From State Constitution Fails

Crispin Havener

A Colorado ballot measure that would have removed a reference to the slavery in the state’s constitution has failed, reports Colorado Public Radio.

When counting concluded on Friday, the Secretary of State's office had the votes to keep the slavery language leading by almost 18,000 votes. The amendment’s backer, Democratic State Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora, conceded, saying the voters had spoken.

However, it’s not totally clear that Colorado voters really did want to keep the slavery reference. Critics say clunky wording on the ballot may have confused voters. The ballot question read as follows: “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution concerning the removal of the exception to the prohibition of slavery and involuntary servitude when used as a punishment for persons duly convicted of a crime?”

Melton indicated that he’ll try again in the future. “We need to revisit the language and see if there’s a way to make it less confusing to the voter,” he said.