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Recount possible on Amendment T - removing slavery reference in Colorado Constitution

Posted at 5:49 AM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 08:45:52-05

A vote to eliminate an archaic and offensive reference to slavery as punishment for crimes in the Colorado Constitution may be doomed by a lack of clarity.

A week after the vote, the confusingly written Amendment T is on the cusp of failing and lawmakers may be to blame.

Slavery was officially outlawed in Colorado in 1877 under Article II, Section 26 of the state’s constitution. The only exception in which slavery or involuntary servitude is allowed is by convicted criminals who are currently incarcerated.

It declares that "there shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime."

Colorado's Legislature placed a measure on the ballot to eliminate that language. But a book explaining ballot measures to voters included arguments against it — even though there was no organized opposition.

Out of nearly 2.3 million ballots cast, "No" is leading. It's possible the margin will be so close that the state will conduct a recount.