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DENVER, COLORADO – MARCH 4: Erin Behrens, left, and Giuliana Day, right, sponsors of Initiative 120 also known as Due Date Too Late, address a small gathering by the boxes of signatures they help to drop off at the Secretary of State’s Office on March 4, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The group collected around 138,500 signatures in what they described as a grass roots effort. The signatures were due today to get the initiative on the ballot, which would restrict abortion rights in Colorado in the same day the Supreme Court is heading a case on abortion access restrictions. Due Date Too Late hopes to end late-term abortion in Colorado in 2020. The group says that Colorado is one of only a few states that allows abortion for any reason up until birth with no restrictions. They hope to enact a 22-week abortion ban. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
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One of the sponsors of a ballot initiative to ban late-term abortions in Colorado has sued the Secretary of State’s Office for more time to collect signatures.

The group will only move forward with the lawsuit, though, if the signatures turned in are found insufficient to qualify for the November ballot, according to attorney Suzanne Staiert, a former deputy secretary of state.

The Due Date Too Late organizers have also appealed to the Secretary of State’s Office to grant them more time than the allotted 15-day cure period to get valid signatures because of coronavirus concerns, the campaign told supporters in an email.

If the measure makes it onto the ballot, voters will be asked to decide whether the state should ban abortions at 22 weeks and later.

Due Date Too Late co-sponsor Giuliana Day filed the lawsuit March 4 in Denver District Court — the same day that the campaign turned in approximately 137,624 signatures. They must have 124,632 valid signatures to make the ballot. The lawsuit was first reported by the Colorado Times Recorder.

The group will have 15 days to collect additional signatures if the Secretary of State’s Office says it doesn’t have enough.

The lawsuit argues that the office’s deadlines conflict with the Colorado Constitution. The campaign wants to be able to circulate petitions until Aug. 3, the constitutional deadline for initiative petitions to be filed for the November election, according to the complaint. But Colorado law requires that petitions be filed within six months of the titles being set and no later than three months and three weeks before an election — in Due Date Too Late’s case, March 4.

The Secretary of State’s Office said it could not comment on pending litigation.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office notified the campaign Wednesday that officials would be conducting a “line-by-line” verification of signatures, which will be completed by April 3, spokesperson Steve Hurlbert said. That analysis is triggered when a random sample of signatures indicates the total verified will land between 90% and 110% of the required number.

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