Pay attention! 

Ranging from prayer to peace, these measures could be on your 2008 ballot

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The next statewide election isn't exactly around the corner, but plenty of folks are already thinking about it.

If you're interested in putting an initiative on the November 2008 ballot, you have until April 25 to get rolling. Considering the amount of hoop-jumping you'll need to do, it's advisable to start early.

Before you even begin collecting the 76,047 valid voter signatures required to place something on the ballot, you'll need to survive reviews.

Once the signatures are in, you'll face more reviews.

"A lot of people go through these [steps] and fail," says Dana Williams of the Colorado secretary of state's office.

That hasn't deterred everyone. Here are some of the ballot initiatives you could end up voting on in 2008:

Dumping affirmative action: The state of Colorado would be largely prohibited from giving special consideration to women and minorities in public employment, public education or public contracting, under a proposed initiative.

One of the more controversial elements of the proposal is that it would eliminate the use of affirmative action at the state's public colleges and universities.

Tom Hutton, spokesman for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, says his school actually has avoided using race or ethnicity as a factor in the admissions process since a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

That decision gave extra points to minority students in the University of Michigan's undergraduate admission process. But at the same time, the court upheld Michigan law school's right to more informally consider diversity when selecting students.

I am the egg man: Coloradans would decide whether a fertilized egg is a person. Aside from obviously conflicting with abortion rights, the initiative would also raise other questions. For instance, the Colorado General Assembly's initial questions about the measure included whether the egg would have the same rights as any other human, and if so, whether it'd be considered a minor or an adult.

Lottery for sale: This proposed initiative would let private companies bid on a concession agreement to manage the lottery. The state wouldn't be required to give the contract to the highest bidder, but could choose a company that would "best serve the public interest."

On your knees, kids: Children could be subjected to daily prayer/meditation time in public schools. Those who don't want to pray could use the time to study.

Just peace-y: The Colorado constitution would be amended to include the words "Peace is Possible" under one initiative.

Attacking the unions: It would become a misdemeanor to force an employee to belong to a union, pay union dues, or pay any other fees associated with a labor union under one proposal. The initiative would still allow people to voluntarily belong to a labor union.

Drilling local governments: County and municipal governments would be allowed to set more stringent, but not less stringent, regulations on oil and gas operations taking place within their boundaries.

Getting greener: A proposed initiative would limit new power plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt-hour. The requirement, stricter than today's standard, would apply to energy directly produced by a new facility, and to newly purchased energy.



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