Supporters and opponents of Colorado’s statewide ballot measures have pumped $41.7 million just this year toward swaying public opinion on issues that could have far-reaching implications if passed in November.

During a presidential election year in which issues such as abortion access hang in the balance, and at a time when many families are struggling to make ends financially, Colorado’s ballot questions are taking on heightened importance. Measures such as a 22-week ban on abortions and having Colorado support the national popular vote for president are receiving attention — and contributions — from across the state and country. With less than a month to go, advocates are making their final pushes to Election Day — including in the money race.

The committee fighting the proposed ban on abortions after 22 weeks has brought in the most contributions of any issue committee at almost $6.5 million in 2019 and 2020, while proponents of Proposition 115 have raised a fraction of that, according to filings with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office by Tuesday’s deadline. Three committees supporting the measure raised about $369,000.

Opposition to the abortion measure is being led by women’s reproductive rights groups and progressive allies such as ProgressNow Colorado, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, and Cobalt. Supporters of Proposition 115 include Catholic Charities and citizen advocates.

Although Colorado voters have rejected abortion bans three times before at the ballot box, the vote comes at a critical time with the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. President Donald Trump has nominated conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her, leaving advocates worried about the potential of Roe v. Wade getting overturned.

Colorado is one of only seven states that doesn’t have gestational limits on when an abortion can take place.

“We are the target of groups with a national agenda to end reproductive health care,” said Stefanie Clarke, spokesperson for the No on 115 campaign. “What happens in Colorado this election will have far-reaching consequences when it comes to abortion access. It is going to take significant resources to educate voters about the facts and correct their disinformation campaign.”

Clarke said abortion rights advocates expected a close race from the beginning, so they aren’t taking anything for granted.

Proponents of the abortion limits point to national polling that indicates voters are more supportive of abortion restrictions later in pregnancy. They also say their campaign is focused on the grassroots level, mostly attracting small, individual contributions.

“I’m very confident we’re going to win this one,” said organizer Giuliana Day of Due Date Too Late. “That’s why they’re so concerned — because this is something so reasonable.”

The issue committee that has collected the second-biggest haul is the group backing Proposition 118, which would create a state-run paid family and medical leave program. It has brought in about $5.9 million, according to campaign finance filings. The opposition committee has received more than $468,000.

Much of the money that campaigns have collected has been spent on digital and TV media. That’s expected every election cycle, but it was further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic this year.

“The burden of proof is always on the ‘yes’ side in ballot measures,” said Democratic Sen. Mike Foote, a proponent of the national popular vote. “That’s why we worked hard to fundraise.”

Colorado’s Democratic legislature and governor agreed in 2019 to participate in the National Popular Vote Compact — a group of states that have agreed to cast their Electoral College votes for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, once the group controls at least 272 electoral votes. Citizen opponents gathered enough signatures to get it on next month’s ballot in hopes that voters will repeal it.

The way the question is worded, however, is confusing, with a “yes” vote indicating support for joining the compact, Foote said, so it will take money to educate voters.

In 2019 and 2020, the pro-national popular vote committee brought in about $4.4 million, while the main opposing committee raised close to $1.5 million, according to the latest filings.

Rose Pugliese, the Mesa County Republican who has led the effort to keep Colorado out of the compact, said she’s not worried about the gap in money raised because of the business groups, county elected officials and other volunteers on her side.

“For me, it’s more about making sure we can get our message out and using our volunteers to do that,” Pugliese said. “I feel very confident in our efforts.”

The money race is tighter for Proposition EE, the proposal to increase the state’s tobacco taxes and create a new vaping tax. By the Sept. 21 deadline, opponents of the measure had a single in-kind contributor of more than $1 million: Liggett Vector Brands LLC, a discount tobacco brand based in North Carolina. In the latest filing Tuesday, the committee reported almost $2 million more in contributions, bumping its total to more than $3.1 million.

Proponents have reported $3.6 million in contributions, including from supporters of early childhood education such as Gary Community Investment and Education Reform Now Advocacy. Money from the tax would go toward education programs as well as to help fill the state’s budget gaps during the pandemic-induced recession.

The campaign fundraising difference is even tighter on another state issue.

Michael Fields, executive director of Colorado Rising State Action, said he’s happy with the nearly $1.4 million raised by supporters of Proposition 117, a measure to require voter approval of fees to support large new state programs. The opposition has raised about $1.3 million to fight the measure and others supported by the same proponents.

Fields said he recognizes the voter approval of fees question could be a tough sell come Nov. 3.

“It’s a hard environment given so many things on the national stage and so many ballot issues,” he said.

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