Common Cause’s Elena Nunez Honored for Work Keeping Initiative Process Open & Accessible

Wed, May 12 2010

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Common Cause’s Elena Nunez with the May 2010 John Lilburne Award. Nunez is being awarded for her work in spearheading opposition to Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 (SCR 3), a constitutional amendment designed to make it more difficult for the citizens of Colorado to amend their constitution through a voter initiative.

“Elena Nunez and a great group of civic leaders from across the political spectrum have worked tirelessly to protect citizen initiative rights,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “Elena’s leadership in Colorado helped keep the state’s initiative and referendum process more open and accessible, and that deserves special recognition.”

SCR 3 passed the Senate, but stalled in the House. If passed, SCR-3 would have required that a state constitutional amendment garner a 60% super-majority of the vote in order for the amendment to pass, if it is proposed by citizens through Colorado’s initiative petition process.  Constitutional amendments referred to the ballot by state legislators, however, would still only require a simple majority vote. SCR-3 would have also required initiative sponsors to gather a set percentage of signatures in each congressional district.

“SCR 3 would have blocked a critical avenue for citizens to enact needed reforms and make government more accountable to them,” Jacob added. “Thanks to the great work of Elena and a broad coalition, Colorado’s voter initiative remains a path open to reform from the grassroots.”

Elena Nunez is the program director for Common Cause Colorado. She has a long history of utilizing the ballot initiative process to effectively petition government, having helped manage a number of ballot measure campaigns in Colorado and in San Francisco. The coalition opposing SCR-3 also included former Colorado University Political Science Professor Thad Tecza; Rex Wilmouth with Colorado PIRG; Jessica Corry with the Independence Institute; attorney Rob Corry; retired United States Air Force Academy Professor of Political Science and Lt. Col. Anne Campbell; Marty Nielson, President of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers; Pam Kiely and Pete Maysmith with Environment Colorado; community activist Natalie Menten; Dennis Polhill with Citizens in Charge and the Initiative & Referendum Institute; Constitution Party candidate for Lt. Governor, Doug Campbell; Richard Hamilton, representing Citizen’s Progressive Alliance and other organizations; former Senate President John Andrews; former Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhaney and Evan Ravitz of Vote.org.

Each month, Citizens in Charge Foundation presents the John Lilburne Award to a citizen, or citizens, working to protect and defend the First Amendment petition rights of Americans.  John Lilburne was a 17th Century English pamphleteer, political activist, and champion of individual rights who advocated constitutional government and pioneered the use of petitioning and referenda for redress against government power and abuse. For a complete list of past Lilburne Award winners please click here.

ABOUT CITIZENS IN CHARGE FOUNDATION:
Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national transpartisan voter rights group dedicated to protecting and expanding the ballot initiative and referendum process. We believe good government starts with the voter. For more information visit us www.CitizensInCharge.org.

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