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Colorado Cesar Chavez Day, Referendum E (2002)

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The Colorado Cesar Chavez Day Referendum, also known as Referendum E, was on the November 5, 2002 ballot in Colorado as a legislatively-referred state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have designated March 31 as "Cesar Chavez Day" and made it a holiday for state employees.[1]

Election results

Colorado Referendum E (2002)
Defeatedd No1,062,78079.39%
Yes 275,947 20.61%

Election results via: Colorado Secretary of State (P.144-155)

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

Shall the thirty-first day of March be designated a legal holiday for observing the birthday of Cesar Estrada Chavez as "Cesar Chavez day?[2]


The following background information was provided in the state Blue Book analysis of Referendum E:[3]

Cesar Estrada Chavez was an American civil rights and labor leader. He was born near Yuma, Arizona, on March 31, 1927, and died in 1993. After eighth grade, he left school and worked full time as a migrant farm worker to help support his family. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. During the 1950s, he was an organizer in the Community Service Organization, a civil rights group. Later, he founded the organization now known as the United Farm Workers of America.

Through peaceful strikes and boycotts, his efforts resulted in agricultural labor reforms such as safe and sanitary working conditions, higher wages, and medical coverage. After his death, Cesar Chavez was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the federal government.

State holidays in Colorado. The proposal increases the number of holidays for state employees from ten to eleven starting in 2003. Currently, the state holidays in Colorado are New Year’s Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington-Lincoln Day (also known as Presidents’ Day), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Under current Colorado law, March 31st is recognized as an optional holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez. State agencies are required to remain open on that day.

Employees may take the day off with pay if they trade that day and work another weekday holiday in the same budget year, provided the state agency is open.

Recognition of Cesar Chavez. Three other states recognize Cesar Chavez. It is a state holiday in California and an optional holiday in Texas. Arizona recognizes March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day but does not make it a holiday. On the November 2002 ballot, New Mexico voters will consider a constitutional amendment designating the last Friday in March as a state holiday honoring Cesar Chavez. In Colorado, the City and County of Denver designates the last Monday in March as a holiday honoring Cesar Chavez.

School year holidays in Colorado. Local boards of education set the holidays for the annual school calendar around the minimum hours of state-required school days. If this proposal is adopted, each local board of education will determine if Cesar Chavez Day is a school holiday.[2]

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Colorado State Legislative Council, "Ballot History," accessed February 25, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Colorado Elections Department, "Blue Book Analysis of 2002 ballot measures," accessed January 8, 2014