Campaign-spending, hiring issues win

DENVER – Colorado voters not only voted to legalize marijuana, they approved the other two issues on the ballot.

Amendment S reforms the state personnel system, and Amendment 65 is a mostly symbolic measure on campaign-finance reform.

With nearly 1.8 million votes counted, Amendment S was leading 56 percent to 44 percent, and Amendment 65 was winning 73 percent to 27 percent.

Gov. John Hickenlooper pushed the Legislature to put Amendment S on the ballot.

It reforms the state personnel system, which is codified in the state constitution and can be changed only by the voters.

“We are grateful voters saw the benefits in overhauling the state’s outdated personnel system. The changes approved today will improve delivery of services and give our veterans more opportunities to compete for state jobs,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.

Hickenlooper wanted more power to hire people in his administration by removing up to 330 positions from the protections of the state personnel system. The governor can also dismiss members of the state personnel board.

Supervisors also will get more flexibility to interview and hire job candidates.

Legislators unanimously voted for Amendment S, but the campaign to convince voters to support it was muted.

The Yes on S campaign raised $467,000, mostly from business leaders. But that total fell far short of the million-dollar sums that most successful ballot campaigns raise.

Several left-leaning groups put Amendment 65 on the ballot as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited money on elections. The ballot measure tells the state’s nine members of Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow Congress and the states to limit campaign spending and fundraising.

Much of the campaign money came from the Fair Share Alliance, a nonprofit group that does not reveal its donors.

With just three questions, it was the shortest ballot Coloradans have seen since 1978.

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