A Quick Guide To Voting
by Jill Soffer
Jill Soffer is a Carbondale, Colorado based philanthropist largely focused on environmental progress, carbon reduction, and sustainable farming. She currently serves on the boards of Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, The Sierra Club Foundation Board, and The Wilderness Workshop, a group protecting the White River National Forest in the Colorado high country. Jill was a developer and interior designer of sustainable “green” homes and a LEED Accredited Professional. She is a graduate of Brown University and Barnard College. Her hobbies include yoga, river trips, horses, and spending time in her beloved Colorado mountains.
A Note From Jill Soffer
I live in the Roaring Fork Valley and enjoy the great outdoors and would like it to stay great. Not too hot, not too dry. SNOW. I love SNOW. This voter’s guide is to help you navigate the trickily worded amendments and propositions that will most likely confuse you, the voter, so that you will vote for what you don’t believe in. I’ve done a lot of research and this guide will help you quickly decipher the many important and confusing Constitutional Amendments and Propositions, some of which could make or break the direction of this state. Read on, and VOTE!
Helpful Voter’s Guide Links
The Conservation Colorado voter’s guide
The League of Women Voters
The Colorado Independent/League of Women Voters voters’ guide.
Why I Vote Democrat
- I believe in affordable health care that covers pre-existing conditions.
- It’s awful that Colorado is #25 in the nation in education. That needs to change.
- The most important investment we can make is in people.
- I am a passionate environmentalist.
- I recommend candidates who will move our state forward into a green economy, protect out public lands, our air and our water.
- Climate Change is public enemy number one. According to the recent International Panel on Climate Change Report, extreme and costly disasters will be here really soon, if we don’t move more quicker than we thought possible to reduce carbon emissions.
The good news now is that we Coloradans can lead the nation in carbon emission reductions. Because the price of renewables is, at long last, truly lower than fossil fuels, we only need to tweak our policies and elect strong leaders.
They are our best bets for moving towards 100% renewable energy, investments in affordable health care, education and protecting Dreamers.
- Jared Polis
- Kerry Donovan
- Diane Mitsch Bush (if you are in CO-3)
- Phil Weiser
- Jena Griswold
The Propositions and Amendments
AMENDMENT V. VOTE YES
No hidden message here, this amendment just allows younger people to run for office. If you’re 21, you’re old enough to fight and die. Seems fair that 21 should be old enough to serve in the state assembly.
AMENDMENT W VOTE NO
Shortening the judges’ section of the ballot. It’s not really a problem now so there isn’t much reason to change it.
AMENDMENT X. VOTE YES
This is regarding the definition of Industrial Hemp. Read the details here.
Essentially, it will allow the growing Colorado Industrial Hemp industry to compete with national hemp growers if the new Federal Farm Bill changes the allowable amount of THC (negligible) in Industrial Hemp. Hemp is an important crop – it uses less water than cotton, and needs no or little pesticides. It’s great for all kinds of uses – paper, clothing, rope, healthy foods and oils. Even though it is in the marijuana family, it can’t get you high. And we grow lots of it in Colorado and we should grow more.
Here’s an article from Forbes Magazine about why hemp is such an amazing crop for the economy and for the environment. And those of you who know me know I like anything that does two good things at once. VOTE YES!!
AMENDMENT Y. VOTE YES
Gerrymandering is the lovely practice of drawing districts so that the party in power can stay in power. It means the dominant party can draw a voting district in such a way that the voters for the other side are always fewer than the number of voters for their side. That way the powerful can stay in power forever, regardless of what the people want.
This amendment establishes an independent commission made up of an equal number of Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated representatives. It requires open meetings and public engagement during the planning process. Sounds good to me!
AMENDMENT Z VOTE YES
Same as above, for the legislature. End gerrymandering. It’s not fair.
AMENDMENT A. VOTE YES
I was surprised to see this on the ballot in that I, like you, assumed we’d abolished slavery in 1865. Apparently not.
AMENDMENT 73. VOTE YES
Funding for schools. Yes. Yes. Yes. Slightly increases taxes on wealthy and corporations to pay for it. It’s shocking that Colorado is 25th in the nation scholastically, and spends roughly $2800 less per student than the national average.
We have a fast growing state and we need smart educated people to live and work here. YES.
AMENDMENT 74. ABSOLUTELY VOTE NO!!! NO NO NO NO NO
This one is so terrible, you should read about it here. The idea here is that if any government (local or state) passes a law to protect its citizens but that hinders the development of private property in some way (ie fracking distances) the property owners can sue the government (even the little counties and towns) to be “fairly compensated”.
This will tie up our courts forever and cost tons of money. And it’s so poorly worded that even if you wanted to open a pot store on your property which is next to a school and your town has a law against it, you can sue the town for “taking” the value of your property.
Oregon passed a measure similar to Amendment 74 in 2004, when 60 percent of voters approved a law allowing property owners to claim government compensation if an environmental or land use regulation reduced their property value.
This measure will have big consequences regarding future decisions made by governments that benefit their citizens. Governments will be afraid or unwilling to put in safeguards for their citizens.
And taxpayers (that’s YOU!) will be responsible to property owners for any perceived loss in property value due to a government action, like protection. Compensation may be ordered even if property owners continue to use their property profitably.
AMENDMENT 75. VOTE NO!
This proposal opens the door to allow more contributions which would further inflate election spending. It’s confusing, but it does nothing to address personal wealth between candidates. It would complicate, not fix, Colorado elections by allowing EVEN MORE money to be spent on elections.
PROPOSTION 109 VOTE NO
This prop raises no new money, it only diverts money from health care, education and road maintenance to pay for new road projects. Call me crazy, but health care and education are more important that roads. There are other ways to raise the money, like
PROP 110 – see below.
PROPOSITION 110. VOTE YES
Increases the state’s sales and use tax rate by .62% (6.2 cents for every $10) from 2.9% to 3.52% for 20 years beginning January 1, 2019. Raises new money for transportation, including buses, bike lanes, walking.
We are talking about 6.2 cents on every $10. On $100.00, that is 62cents. Totally doable.
PROPOSITION 111. VOTE YES
Put simply, this proposition reduces the amount that payday lenders can rip people off. Payday lenders can now charge up to 200% on a loan and their victims are always desperate, poor people who can’t get loans elsewhere. Not fair.
PROPOSTION 112. VOTE YES
This proposition increases the setback for oil and gas drilling, from 500 feet away from a school or neighborhood to 2500 feet. Here’s how I look at it, if I lived near a fracking well, I would DEFINITELY want it to be farther away. I don’t want it polluting my air, my water or making a ton of noise. I don’t want to be only 500 feet away from the stinky trucks going back and forth, and I don’t want them near my kids.
There are some that say it “goes too far” but for me, fracking can’t go far enough away. But think hard about if it were you and fracking wanted to move in next door. Read up if you are want to know more.
Eagle County. 1A – Open Space Mill Levy. VOTE YES
Ballot Issue 7A. Mill Increase. YES
Ballot Issue 7D YES
Ballot Issue 7F. YES
VOTE VOTE VOTE!
We live in a country where we are still allowed to vote – DO IT AND PASS IT ON. FORWARD TO YOUR FRIENDS AND KIDS AND GRANDPARENTS!!