So many ballot measures, so little time

So many ballot measures, so little time

October 7, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we’re finally approaching the end of the 2020 campaign season. I know that many of you are feeling ready to complete and return your ballot the moment you receive it, so I want to make sure you have all the info you need to vote this year.

Voting by mail in Colorado is secure. Every registered voter receives a ballot, which you can return by mail or take to a drop box.  You can also throw it away and go vote in person after October 19th. Our systems are audited and protected from fraud and foreign interference. In most counties, you can check online to find out whether your ballot has been received and counted (which is just another reason not to wait)! Find more information about voting this year here.

There are 11 statewide ballot measures and various local measures. For nonpartisan analysis of pros and cons, make sure to read your Blue Book (English Version | Spanish Version). There are also some great ballot guides out there from the Bell Policy Center and Progress Now Colorado, but I’m sure you’re unsurprised to learn that I have some strong opinions of my own:

Amdt B – Repeal Gallagher Amendment
I’m voting yes. This outdated property tax formula has led to a serious decline in local funding for our K-12 schools, which the state has tried but failed to adequately backfill. If we don’t pass Amdt B, our schools are going to take another big hit next year.

Amdt C – Bingo/Raffle Rules
While it’s silly that these rules are in the Constitution in the first place, Amdt C makes modest changes to help nonprofits fundraise using bingo and raffles. I’m voting yes.

Amdt 76 – Requirements to Vote
I’m voting no. There are no jurisdictions in Colorado considering allowing non-citizens to vote, so this is largely symbolic. However, we do currently grant 17-year-olds the right to vote in caucuses and primaries as long as they’ll be 18 by the November election, and Amdt 76 would take that right away.

Amdt 77 – Casino Bet Limits
Honestly, I’m a little torn on this one. Our community colleges certainly need more funding, and Amdt 77 could help. But I do worry the potential for higher betting limits to hurt people prone to gambling addiction.

Prop EE – Nicotine Tax
I’m voting yes. Increasing the price of nicotine products is the number one way to reduce teen use, which is very high in Colorado. While it’s true that nicotine taxes are regressive, I’d argue that the negative health impacts of nicotine use are even more regressive. 

Prop 113 – National Popular Vote
I’m voting yes. Once enough states join Colorado in this interstate compact, all will simultaneously switch from giving their electoral college votes to the winner of their own state’s popular vote and instead give them to the winner of the national popular vote. It’s unfortunate that Presidential candidates really only campaign in a dozen or so states. With a national popular vote system, these candidates will be incentivized to campaign in every state. It’s simple. One person, one vote.

Prop 114 – Gray Wolf Reintroduction
While I’m hardly an expert on wildlife issues, I’m voting yes because I believe it’s important to protect endangered species. I believe we’ll be able to adequately address the concerns from ranchers.

Prop 115 – Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks
I’m voting no. This is just another attempt to restrict access to women’s reproductive health, and I maintain that this is none of the government’s business.

Prop 116 – Income Tax Rate Cut
I’m voting no. This cut disproportionately benefits the wealthy while only giving back $37 a year to the average Coloradan. The lost revenue could mean slashing more than 2000 teacher jobs. I think the average Colorado family needs good teachers more than they need $37.

Prop 117 – Voter Approval of Enterprises
I’m voting no. TABOR already makes Colorado’s budget process the most convoluted in the country. Prop 117 would do even more to tie legislators’ hands behind our backs at a time when we need creative thinking to keep our state afloat.

Prop 118 – Paid Family Leave
I’m voting yes. Too many Colorado workers have to face the terrible choice between caring for a loved one and keeping their job. By establishing a social insurance program for family leave in Colorado, we can ensure everyone can take the time they need to take care of a new baby or an aging parent while also helping small businesses get by while their employee is on leave.

Lakewood Ballot Question 2B – Recreational Marijuana
I’m voting yes to allow Lakewood’s existing medical marijuana retailers to begin selling recreational marijuana. I continue to believe a regulated marijuana market does a better job preventing access for kids than the black market, and Lakewood will put the increased sales tax revenue to good use on parks, police, and transportation.

Whew! We got through all 11 statewide measures plus one local measure! If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me! Just a couple more quick things before I let you go on with your day!

Remember to vote all the way down the ticket! Yes, there will be names you don’t recognize, but you know how to use Google. The people we elect to offices like county commissioner and district attorney have huge impacts on our communities, too.

Take a simple step to triple your vote. We all have friends and family who could use a reminder to vote. If everyone reading this commits to contact three people in their own network, it will go a really long way.

Thank you for participating in our democracy! As always, you can email me at chris@kennedy4co.com with your thoughts and questions.

Chris

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