When Denver voters head to the polls tomorrow, they won't just have a chance to vote for a new senator or representatives. They'll have a chance to cast their ballots for E.T.
Jeff Peckman, the Denver entrepreneur spearheading the campaign, said Denver's Initiative 300 would establish an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission responsible for collecting and sharing evidence that extraterrestrials are visiting Earth and for assessing the risks and benefits of making contact with those aliens.
"The reason it's important is that this needs to start somewhere. It's not starting anywhere, at the federal level or state level or any other level of government," Peckman said. "In this country we believe this could very well be a citizen's task."
The commission would be privately funded with grants and gifts, but would have the support of the mayor and the city of Denver, he said, adding that the panel's findings and progress would be posted on the city's website.
Denver Post: If E.T. Calls, 'Hang Up'
Though the panel won't need taxpayer's dollars, Peckman said it's still important that the public vote to approve it.
"The process of this ballot initiative engages the public in this discussion that they've been left out of," he said. "[And the commission] gives it a kind of official status."
Peckman was able to collect 10,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, but said he "can't even think about whether it's going to pass. He said they've already been victorious in raising local awareness on the issue.
But he's also been successful in raising local doubt.
In an "Editorial Shorttake" on the initiative, the Denver Post said "Should E.T. phone here, we say: Hang up." Other reports suggest that while the initiative has attracted interest, it's not necessarily the kind of interest needed to elevate E.T. to city hall.
Still, UFO researchers in other parts of the country are taking note.
Michael Luckman, author of "Alien Rock: The Rock 'N' Roll Extraterrestrial Connection" and director of the New York Center for Extraterrestrial Research, said he's been in touch with Peckman and hopes that, in the future, he'll be able to introduce a similar proposal in New York City.
"More than anything else this is a way of focusing worldwide attention, particularly in New York, which is the media capital of the world, on the issue of extraterrestrials and their visitation to Earth," he said, "[We're] moving in a direction of disclosure, meaning mass disclosure to the public on the part of the government."
New York UFO Researcher: Denver Campaign Could Spread
Creating a New York Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission would be no easy task. Mayor Bloomberg himself would have to endorse it. But Luckman said he's working on it.
"The most important thing is to see how things go on Tuesday for the Denver initiative," he said. "If it's passed... then that will, of course, give great momentum to the New York campaign."
Depending on how Denver's Initiative 300 fares at the polls Tuesday, Luckman said this campaign could spread to other cities, potentially UFO hotspots, such as Phoenix, and Roswell, New Mexico.
Assuming his campaign builds steam, Luckman said he would consider filling the panel with political and entertainment luminaries with either a stake in national security or an interest in extraterrestrial matters. He cited possible contenders including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth (who he said is interested in crop circles), boxer Muhammad Ali, Steven Spielberg and Yoko Ono.
Author: Campaigns Stem from Global Conspiracy Theories
But before Denver, New York or any other city prepares to lay out the red carpet for E.T., supporters of UFO initiatives will have to prove one key thing: that they're pitching something other than a giant conspiracy theory.
"This is all derived from this idea that there's some global conspiracy hiding information about UFOs that not only crossed international boundaries but decades," said Benjamin Radford, author of "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries" and managing editor of The Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
UFO believers point to the alleged recovery of extra-terrestrial debris in Roswell, N.M., in 1947 and reports by U.S. Airmen to show that the government is covering up evidence supporting the visitation by aliens. They claim that the U.S. government and other governments around the world are suppressing information, Radford said.
But governments have looked into the existence of aliens and "the answer was there does not seem to be enough good evidence that the Earth is being visited by extraterrestrials on a regular basis," Radford said. "Because there is so little evidence for UFOs, the believers, they basically have no choice but to assume that there's a conspiracy."