Election Ballot 2016: Greenpeace Sends Message to Those Below

greenpeaceSimran McKenna has been flying over most everyone in the metro area this week with a message that he can get below-or behind:  Vote No on 71.  Amendment 71 on this year’s ballot refers to an initiative designed to provide for more challenges to be able to change Colorado’s constitution.

Currently to change the Colorado constitution, initiative proponents must collect enough petition signatures to equal at least 5 percent of the votes cast in the most recent election for Secretary of State. In 2016, this requirement was 98,492 signatures. Proponents have up to six months to gather and submit signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office for verification.

If passed, Amendment 71 would require proposed constitutional amendments to be signed by 2 percent of the people in each of the state’s 35 Senate districts and upon a vote, win a supermajority of 55 percent of the vote.  Amendments to repeal all or part of an existing amendment would be exempt from the 55 percent rule.

Opponents of different political arenas have surfaced to voice concerns that the bill would be too difficult for citizen-led measures with little funding to make changes to the Constitution.

The environmental group Greenpeace loudly voiced its opposition to the bill this week with an airship that flew over Boulder and Denver this week and plans to continue depending on weather conditions.

On Friday The Nation Report reported from the launch site and spoke to McKenna who said, “The opportunity to support such a broad coalition in this fight against the special interests to take control of democracy in Colorado makes clear sense to me.  The opportunity for Greenpeace to come out and lend our weight is exactly where we need to be [which is] in solidarity with others.”

McKenna said that the airship is a tool that Greeenpeace has used for the last six or seven years and is a hybrid between a blimp and hot air balloon.  “It gives us a platform to communicate to large audiences and the opportunity to support a diverse coalition to support the No on 71 campaign.”

(all photos and video:  The Nation Report)


The thermal airship is named in honor of the late Mr. A.E. Bates.  Bates gave over 25,000 hours of volunteer service to Greenpeace USA.  The messages on each side of the airship reads, “Vote No 71” and “Don’t let BIG $$$ rig our democracy.”

McKenna said that his actions will hopefully keep big money special interests out of the process and keeping grassroots voices in the mix.

Diana Best, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace in Denver was part of the ground crew for lift-offs near Erie, Colorado.  She said that the entire crew is local and some had been involved in the signature gathering process for Amendments 75 and 78 which attempted to provide restrictions on oil and gas extraction, but failed to make the Colorado ballot.

Best said, “What’s so impressive about this No on 71 campaign is how widespread its support is.”  She sees Amendment 71 as an “attempt by big corporations to close the door on the democratic process on grassroots groups.  This is special interest on grassroots efforts in state.

The libertarian Independence Institute has voiced opposition to Amendment 71 as well as groups that backed 75 and 78 including Frack Free Colorado, 350.org. as well as the Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA) that works for climate, economic, social and immigrant justice.  All have turned their focus to oppose 71.

Upon liftoff this morning Best finished with, “71 needs to be stopped in November.”

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