There is still a single sentence in Colorado’s state Constitution that endorses the idea of one person literally enslaving another as criminal punishment.
The text reads: “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime.”
Colorado voters last night had the chance to vote on Amendment T, a constitutional amendment that would remove the reference to slavery in the state’s founding document in order to better reflect the times and not endorse the spirit of slavery, an institution that dehumanized and murdered millions of black people.
One might imagine that Colorado, which went to Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential election, would have no difficulty taking a symbolic step to finally abolish slavery from the state, but one would be wrong. The measure is currently losing narrowly, though a final call has yet to be made.
Together Colorado, a statewide, multi-faith community organization, attempted to impress upon Colorado voters the symbolic significance of removing the references to slavery in the Constitution , but according to board president Sharon Bridgeforth, it’s possible that a number of people were confused by the fact that voting “Yes” on Amendment T was the right thing to do.
“People were probably confused,” Bridgeforth said. “I think that they probably thought they were voting for it by saying no.”
The 2016 election: when even slavery gets a narrow win.