Colorado 2008 Voter Guide

Officially, we’re one week out from election day 2008. But, as Kirk Johnson wrote in this article for The New York Times, the process of voting is changing. Colorado voters are increasingly using early voting and vote by mail as options to going to the polling place on election day. It makes a lot of sense, given the combination of an insanely long ballot and the voting fiascos that have plagued our state in the past few election cycles.

I ran into Patty Calhoun at the primary this summer, and talked about how we’re going to miss going down to the polling place and visiting with the residents at the Ivy Manor (now called the Spearly Center) where voting day was the one of the most exciting events of the year. Somehow, that “I Voted” sticker just isn’t the same when it comes from your mail-in ballot, and not from the community-spirit infused volunteer.

The following is my attempt to make sense of an unnaturally long and tedious Colorado ballot. To create this version, I used a Ballot Guide tool provided by Politics West, which works pretty well. I did actually read the ballot amendments that are proposed, and I considered a variety of points of view, including progress now, the denver dailies, bell policy center, squarestate.net, and others.

Most of all, my decisions are based on an underlying belief that progressive politicians better represent a future of opportunity. I also believe that “citizen-sponsored’ amendments to the constitution are usually a bad idea, though that belief is occasionally tempered by the reality that some of the bad amendments we’ve passed in the past (aka, TABOR) require an occasional run around.

So here it is, for what it’s worth:

  1. President

    1. John McCain
    2. → Barack Obama
    3. Charles Baldwin
    4. Bob Barr
    5. Cynthia McKinney
    6. Ralph Nader
  2. U.S. Senate

    1. Bob Kinsey
    2. Bob Schaffer
    3. → Mark Udall
  3. 1st Congressional District

    1. Martin Buchanan
    2. → Diana DeGette
    3. George Lilly
  4. House District 5

    1. → Joel Judd
    2. J J Swiontek
  5. Amendment 46 – Discrimination and Preferential Treatment by Governments

    Amendment 46 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – prohibit Colorado governments from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting; – make exceptions for federal programs, existing court orders or other legally binding agreements, and bona fide qualifications based on sex; and – provide the same remedies that are available for violations of existing Colorado anti-discrimination law.
    1. Yes
    2. → No
    3. Comment: 46 is stupid and unnecessary. Perfect example of a bad use of the amendment process.
  6. Amendment 47 – Prohibition on Mandatory Labor Union Membership and Dues

    Amendment 47 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: ‚ prohibit requiring an employee to join and pay any dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment; and ‚ create a misdemeanor penalty for violation of this law.
    1. → No
    2. Yes
    3. Comment: Anything Jake Jabs is for, I’m against.
  7. Amendment 48 – Definition of Person

    Amendment 48 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: define the term “person” to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization”; and apply this definition of person to the sections of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without due process of law.
    1. Yes
    2. → No
    3. Comment: Inane. Dangerous. Even our pro-life governor is against this.
  8. Amendment 49 – Limitation on Public Payroll Deductions

    Amendment 49 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: -prohibit any public employee paycheck deduction, except for: deductions required by federal law; tax withholdings; court-ordered liens and garnishments; health benefit and other insurance deductions; deductions for savings, investment, and retirement plans; and deductions for charitable, religious, educational, and other tax-exempt organizations.
    1. Yes
    2. → No
    3. Comment: Interferes with individual choice and local control. Basically, an attempt to limit free speech.
  9. Amendment 50 – Limited Gaming

    Amendment 50 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – allow residents of Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to vote to extend casino hours, approve additional games, and increase the maximum single bet limit; – give most of the gaming tax revenue that results from new gaming limits to Colorado community colleges and to the gaming cities and counties; – require statewide voter approval for any gaming tax increase if new gaming limits are adopted by any gaming town; and – exempt the revenue raised from new gaming limits from state and local revenue and spending limits.
    1. Yes
    2. → No
    3. Comment: This is one of the more interesting choices on the ballot. Apparently, I’m a puritan. Perhaps you are a libertarian, and believe that if someone is stupid enough to gamble, they deserve to lose their money. I, on the other hand, am afraid that someone, somewhere, is having more fun than I am. And, I’m voting against this because I don’t want to see that happen.
  10. Amendment 51 – State Sales Tax Increase for Services for People With Developmental Disabilities

    Amendment 51 proposes amending the Colorado statutes to: – increase the state sales and use tax from 2.9 percent to 3.0 percent on July 1, 2009, and from 3.0 percent to 3.1 percent on July 1, 2010; – direct that the new money be used to pay for services for people with developmental disabilities and to help eliminate the waiting lists for services; – prohibit the legislature from reducing the current level of state funding for services for people with developmental disabilities; and – exempt the new money from state spending limits.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: It seems that I’m a socialist. This is one of those times when I vote against my fundamental beliefs to get around TABOR (taxpayer bill of rights, for the acronym challenged). As a society, we have to treat people with disabilities with more respect.
  11. Amendment 52 – Use of Severance Tax for Highways

    Amendment 52 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: require the state legislature to spend a portion of state severance tax collections on highway projects.
    1. Yes
    2. → No
    3. Comment: It’s a stupid idea to change the distribution of funds through the constitution.
  12. Amendment 53 – Criminal Accountability of Business Executives

    BACKERS OF THIS MEASURE PULLED IT FROM THE BALLOT ON OCT. 2. WHILE THE QUESTION MAY STILL APPEAR ON YOUR BALLOT, RESULTS WILL NOT BE TALLIED.
    1. Yes
    2. No
  13. Amendment 54 – Campaign Contribution Restrictions for Certain Govt. Contractors

    Amendment 54 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – prohibit certain government contractors from contributing to a political party or candidate for the contract’s duration and two years thereafter; – prohibit contributors to ballot issue campaigns from entering into certain government contracts relating to the ballot issue; – apply the prohibitions on campaign contributions and ballot issue contracts to any contractor with a government contract or contracts that does not use a public and competitive bidding process soliciting at least three bids and with a total value greater than $100,000 in a single year; and – apply the prohibitions on campaign contributions and ballot issue contracts to a labor organization holding a collective bargaining agreement with a state or local government.
    1. Yes
    2. → No
    3. Comment: this is an attempt to reign in free speech, and it also places very tough contracting requirements on rural areas of the state.
  14. Amendment 55 – Allowable Reasons for Employee Discharge or Suspension

    BACKERS OF THIS MEASURE PULLED IT FROM THE BALLOT ON OCT. 2. WHILE THE QUESTION MAY STILL APPEAR ON YOUR BALLOT, RESULTS WILL NOT BE TALLIED.
    1. Yes
    2. No
  15. Amendment 56 – Employer Responsibility for Health Insurance

    BACKERS OF THIS MEASURE PULLED IT FROM THE BALLOT ON OCT. 2. WHILE THE QUESTION MAY STILL APPEAR ON YOUR BALLOT, RESULTS WILL NOT BE TALLIED.
    1. Yes
    2. No
  16. Amendment 57 – Additional Remedies for Injured Employees

    BACKERS OF THIS MEASURE PULLED IT FROM THE BALLOT ON OCT. 2. WHILE THE QUESTION MAY STILL APPEAR ON YOUR BALLOT, RESULTS WILL NOT BE TALLIED.
    1. Yes
    2. No
  17. Amendment 58 – Severance Taxes on the Oil and Gas Industry

    Amendment 58 proposes amending the Colorado statutes to: – increase the amount of state severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies, primarily by eliminating an existing state tax credit; – allocate the increased severance tax revenue to college scholarships for state residents, wildlife habitat, renewable energy projects, transportation projects in energy-impacted areas, and water treatment grants; and – exempt all oil and gas severance tax revenue from state and local spending limits.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: Okay, here’s another example of going against my fundamental bias against constitutional amendment. But hey, why should Colorado be cheaper than Wyoming when it comes to the cost of oil drilling?
  18. Amendment 59 – Education Funding and TABOR rebates

    Amendment 59 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – eliminate rebates that taxpayers receive when the state collects more money than it is allowed, and spend the money on preschool through 12th grade (P-12) public education; – eliminate the required inflationary increase for P-12 education spending; and – set aside money in a new savings account for P-12 education.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: Once again, an initiative to address the difficulties that TABOR has placed on funding – in this case for education.
  19. Ref. L – Age Qualification for Serving in the General Assembly

    Referendum L proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – lower the age requirement for serving in the state legislature from 25 to 21.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: Okay, Referenda are different, they are offered up by the legislature. In this case, I’m not too concerned by having a 21 year old in the legislature. In exchange, I’d like to see the legal driving age raised to 25.
  20. Ref. M – Eliminate Obsolete Constitutional Provisions – Land Value

    Referendum M proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – remove a provision that allows the state legislature to delay taxing land value increases from planting hedges, orchards, and forests on private lands.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: I would like to have a private forest, and I want it tax free. But I’ll vote for this anyhow.
  21. Ref. N – Eliminate Obsolete Constitutional Provisions – Intoxicating Liquors

    Referendum N proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – remove provisions related to the regulation of alcohol beverages from two sections of the constitution.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: Because I want to be able to go into a saloon in Colorado.
  22. Ref. O – Initiative Petition Requirements

    Referendum O proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to: – decrease the number of signatures required to place a statutory initiative on the ballot, and increase the number of signatures required to place a constitutional initiative on the ballot; – require that eight percent of signatures for constitutional initiatives be gathered from each congressional district; – require that drafts of proposed constitutional initiatives be submitted for review earlier in the year; – extend the time period for collecting signatures for statutory initiatives; – increase the number of votes required for the legislature to change a statutory initiative for five years after the statute takes effect; and – allow the public and state legislators to comment on proposed initiatives at a public meeting.
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: YES, oh yes, for the love of all things holy. Look at this insane ballot! Dearest neighbors, please vote for this.
  23. DPS Referred Issue 3A

    SHALL DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS (SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1) DEBT BE INCREASED $454 MILLION, WITH A MAXIMUM REPAYMENT COST OF $990 MILLION, AND SHALL DISTRICT TAXES BE INCREASED $59 MILLION ANNUALLY (ESTIMATED TO RESULT IN A TAX INCREASE OF APPROXIMATELY $5 DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR EVERY $100,000 OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY VALUE) TO COMPLETE NECESSARY RENOVATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS DISTRICTWIDE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING: • MAKING CRITICAL REPAIRS AND RENOVATIONS, THAT TOUCH ALMOST EVERY SCHOOL BUILDING OR GROUNDS IN THE DISTRICT • IMPROVING COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY ACROSS THE DISTRICT • REPLACING DETERIORATING SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS WITH NEW ONES THAT ARE SAFER 14 • CONSTRUCTING A NEW KINDERGARTEN-THROUGH-EIGHTH GRADE AND NEW HIGH SCHOOL TO ACCOMMODATE THE RAPID STUDENT GROWTH IN FAR NORTHEAST DENVER • EXPANDING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM CAPACITY TO ACCOMMODATE THE INCREASING DEMAND OF PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS
    1. → Yes
    2. No
    3. Comment: Children are the future. And I am, apparently, a socialist.
  24. State Board of Education (1st CD)

    1. → Elaine Gantz Berman
  25. District Attorney 2nd District

    1. → Mitch Morissey
  26. RTD District A

    Includes Denver, Glendale and parts of Arapahoe County      

    View a map of districts: DISTRICT MAP

    To look up your district by address: RTD LOOKUP

    1. Bill James
    2. Peter Lorenzen
    3. → John Maslanik
    4. Laura Yribia
    5. Comment: John seems like a good bet. Bill James would probably be fine too. Toss a coin?
  27. RTD District D

    Includes Bow Mar, parts of Denver, Englewood, Lakewood, Littleton, and Sheridan      

    View a map of districts: DISTRICT MAP

    To look up your district by address: RTD LOOKUP

    1. → Barbara Brohl
  28. RTD District E

    Includes Aurora, Centennial, Denver, and Greenwood Village      

    View a map of districts: DISTRICT MAP

    To look up your district by address: RTD LOOKUP

    1. → William McMullen
  29. Supreme Court

    BALLOTS WILL ASK: “Shall (Name and Court) be retained in office?” Select the box next to each person’s name if you want to vote “YES”
    1. → Honorable Allison H. Eid
    2. → Honorable Gergory J. Hobbs Jr.
    3. Comment: Okay, where the judges are concerned I’m going off the recommendations of my friend Matt in the State Attorney’s office. He says that usually it’s fine to vote to retain everyone, except for Judge Nottingham, who resigned anyhow.
  30. Court of Appeals

    BALLOTS WILL ASK: “Shall (Name and Court) be retained in office?” Select the box next to each person’s name if you want to vote “YES”
    1. → Honorable Steven L. Bernard
    2. → Honorable David M. Furman
    3. → Honorable Robert D. Hawthorne
    4. → Honorable Jerry N. Jones
    5. → Honorable Gilbert M. Román
    6. → Honorable Diana L. Terry
  31. District Judge 2

    BALLOTS WILL ASK: “Shall (Name and Court) be retained in office?” Select the box next to each person’s name if you want to vote “YES”
    1. → Honorable Martin F. Egelhoff
    2. → Honorable Robert S. Hyatt
    3. → Honorable John W. Madden IV
    4. → Honorable Anne M. Mansfield
    5. → Honorable Robert L. McGahey Jr.
    6. → Honorable Larry J. Naves
    7. → Honorable Sheila A. Rappaport

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