Confusion over Amendment A: Slavery and involuntary servitude

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Elections can be difficult to understand, especially with all the ballot language, but there's one in particular, that's causing a lot of confusion.

Amendment A would remove the state’s constitutional provision that allows for legal slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment.

Amendment A reads “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and thereby prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all circumstances?”

Many viewers tell us they are in favor of changing this rule but others aren't so sure. Especially with the way it's worded.

Those who support the amendment say it's a long time coming, but District Attorney Dan Rubinstein opposes it.

"With most low-level offenses carrying jail, fines and community service as the only sentencing options, I fear that this action will result in more low-risk offenders filling our jails and would disproportionately incarcerate indigent offenders who lack the ability to pay fines,” said Dan Rubinstein, 21st Judicial District Attorney, in a statement to KKCO 11 News.

He says by removing the language “which allows it only as criminal punishment has only one result, banning court-ordered community service in Colorado. We would be the first and only state to do this.”

Rubinstein says the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment holds the same language authorizing involuntary servitude as criminal punishment as does our Colorado Constitution.

Election Day is November 6 and polls close at 7 p.m.

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