Personhood amendment not approved for ballot, falls less than 4,000 signatures short

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Earlier this month, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow spoke about Colorado's Personhood Amendment as if it had already been approved for the ballot. We suggested this assumption might be premature given the number of signatures proponents submitted -- and indeed, the Secretary of State's office has just announced that it's fallen short.

According to the Rich Coolidge, spokesman for Secretary of State Scott Gessler, the backers of the proposal officially known as Initiative 46, the "Application of the Term of Person," submitted 106,119 signatures, give or take a few. Turns out signature checkers misplaced one petition section containing twenty signatures; when it couldn't be found, the signatures were accepted as valid.

First time through, Gessler's staffers conducted a random sample of the signatures -- 5 percent of them. In that count of 5,306 signatures, 4,290 were accepted and 1,016 were nixed, leading to a projection of 85,800 -- only a few hundred less than the 86,105 needed for approval.

As a result, a hand check of every signature was ordered, and the final total was indeed tight -- although not quite as close as anticipated. Of the 106,119 signatures, 23,873 were disallowed, leaving 82,246 to the good. Shortfall: 3,859 signatures. Hence, an office release notes, "The measure will not appear on the November ballot."

How much difference does that make? After all, Personhood was soundly defeated in 2008 and 2010, as Maddow pointed out in her report -- and there's nothing to suggest there would have been a different outcome this time around. However, Maddow argued that Personhood's appearance a third time might have benefited Democrats, because it would have shown that reproductive rights are under attack during a campaign in which the votes of women are thought to be key in Colorado, a state that President Barack Obama said he'll have to win to earn a second term.

Here's the Maddow report:

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More from our Politics archive: "Video: Rachel Maddow on Colorado and personhood in presidential race."

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