It's illegal for children to collect signatures for ballot initiatives in Colorado.
That's why my jaw dropped when I heard radio talk show host Bob Enyart, during a live broadcast Thursday, say, "So, my son today got 20 signatures so far. My son, he's 12."
Enyart has been imploring his listeners to gather 20,000 signatures needed to place an initiative on the Colorado ballot that would define human life as beginning when a human sperm enters a human egg and a zygote forms. Nothing wrong with a talk show host imploring people to do things, but he should be clear about what's legal.
Backers of the initiative initially failed to turn in the required 76,000 valid signatures, but they've been given two weeks to collect more signatures. A similar initiative lost in 2008 by at 3 to 1 margin.
On his talk radio show, Bob Enyart Live, during a program titled "Blue in Faith" March 4, Enyart and his co-host had a discussion about gathering petitions for the ballot initiative. The show airs weekdays on KLTT AM 670 in Denver and at other times elsewhere.
On Thursday's show, Enyart encouraged his listeners to collect signatures at churches and public events. He said, "We got 15 days to get 20,000 signatures. We have 10 teams. Each time has to get 2,000 signatures."
Later in the segment , Enyart says that his 12-year-old son got signatures, which--if it were true--is a violation of Colorado's rules for collecting signatures, according to the website of the Colorado Secretary of State, which states that in order to circulate an initiative petition, you must be "at least eighteen years old at the time that the petition is circulated."
In a discussion with his co-host, Enyart said his 12-year-old son was being "supervised," but the Secretary of State's rules do not state that a supervised a child would be allowed to collect signatures on an initiative position.
Prompted by his co-host, Enyart later stated about that "actually, he's [his son] like the PR guy."
But still, a reasonable listener could conclude that Enyart's 12-year-old son was illegally gathering signatures for the initiative--especially because Enyart was so gushing about the benefits of kids being involved in signature gathering.
"They [kids] love this," Enyart said on the air. "They love it."
[His 12-year old is way different than mine, I'm afraid to say.]
This exchange followed:
Enyart's co-host: When you're out there with them [kids], it really gives you hope for the future.
Enyart: Yeah. Hope for the future. And here are kids learning to be bold for the Lord...
Enyart: and for the innocent. Isn't that what we want of our children? Instead of having mom and dad just sit on the couch and watch, I don't know, the cooking channel....
[See longer transcript here.]
Enyart's statements, while not incriminating, are certainly confusing. So I called him to find out about his son's role.
"He's not a registered voter," Enyart told me. "But he enjoys going to the store or a church with his mom or dad and saying to people, 'Did you sign the personhood petition?' And then however many signatures we get, he thinks that he got em. Our three youngest boys are 8, 10, and 12. So it's like, you know, going deep sea fishing with dad. Whatever dad catches, he thinks he caught."
[Again, my kid differs. My 12-year-old would undoubtedly catch more fish than I would.]
I suggested that Enyart clarify on the air that 1) it's illegal under Colorado law for children to collect signatures for ballot initiatives and 2) his son was not, in fact, collecting signatures for the initiative.
He readily agreed, saying, "Yeah, I think that's good advice. I could do that today. We do the show live each day. Yeah, that's very good."
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