Colorado voters will head to the polls this November to vote if slavery should be abolished once and for all in the Centennial State.
You might be confused why slavery is still up for debate in 2018, but in fact the state’s constitution technically says slavery is legal as a form of punishment.
Article II in Section 26 of Colorado’s constitution states that there “shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
This year, Colorado voters will get to decide on Amendment A if the “except” clause should be removed, thus changing the wording to “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude.”
While it may be certainly concerning that Colorado has yet to outdo slavery in its technical sense, it’s not the only state in the country to still practice such an article. More than 15 states in America cite slavery as a legal punishment. It’s the same for the American constitution.
This is because the Thirteenth Amendment from 1865 outdid the majority of slavery except for involuntary servitude as a legal penalty for crime. It’s an issue that American Civil Liberties Union has also highlighted.
ACLU’s Nathan Woodliff-Stanley told CNN that taking out of the slavery article would effectively close “the door on the possibility of future abuses, and it also sends a positive message in a time of great division in our nation.”
Jumoke Emery, who works with Abolish Slavery Colorado, explained that two years ago the same amendment was brought up by local legislators on the ballot in the state. However, unclear wording left voters wondering if the amendment called for getting rid of slavery or keeping it intact.
This year, Abolish Slavery Colorado hopes the state will finally take slavery out of the state’s constitution.
“Freedom is a fundamental value that everyone in Colorado holds,” officials wrote, “abolishing slavery in our constitution is the most freedom-loving thing we can do as a state.”