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Don’t be a “d”

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This past weekend, we had house guests visiting from Wisconsin. Considering how highly contested the presidential election is here in Colorado, they expected to see lots of Obama and McCain ads. But they were struck by the number of statewide ballot issues that saw plenty of air time too.

“How are you keeping track of all of these?” they asked.

I shrugged. “I’m taking a cheat sheet to the polls.”

Seriously though, there are a total of 18 amendments and referendums to consider – and those are just the ones that are up for a vote across the entire state. I’d bet that there are at least a dozen more at each of the local levels.

There will probably be some people who either: a) Don’t vote on these issues at all; or b) Vote completely at random; or c) Read the measures for the first time there in the voting booth. While the “a” and “b” category voters are slackers, it’s those “c” category folks who keep the rest of us standing in line for three hours.

Put all of these categories together, and you get the dreaded “d” answer – “All of the above”. A bunch of uncast or carelessly cast votes.

Why does it matter? Many of these measures have far-reaching effects. Amendment 51 calls for sales tax increases. Amendments 47 and 49 pertain to union dues. And Amendment 48 redefines “personhood” as any fertilized egg.

Whoa. Definitely worth your consideration, wouldn’t you agree?

Don’t be a “d”. Do your homework beforehand. Here’s some help.

The Colorado Secretary of State website has the Blue Book online (all registered voters received a copy by mail as well), including summaries of each of the amendments and referendums, and dispassionate arguments for and against each one. It’s a fantastic resource – plainly written and truly balanced.

Have you looked into all the amendments and referendums yet? What about the local issues up for vote in your area?

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  • comment avatar Melissa D October 23, 2008

    Ya, whatever you do, don’t go with how the ads have swayed you. They’re something else!

    I am familiar with some of the amendments and referendums but do have my Blue Book as a guide. This year I have a mail in ballot and my Saturday morning plans consist of coffee, my couch and voting. :o)

    You can also visit our friends at 9News and and check out the Truth Tests section. That’s usually quite interesting.

  • comment avatar Erika October 23, 2008

    I’m really struggling to wrap my head around Amendment 58. Each side of the issue is so extreme!! If anyone has seen or heard anything non-partisan help explain this issue in plain English, I’d love to see/hear it.

  • comment avatar LuluMom October 23, 2008

    Cheat sheet is a must! We already did the mail-in ballot, the Amendments section took a half hour to wrap our brains around all the convoluted legal-speak. #46 had triple negatives as it proposed a proposal (we’re pretty sure) preventing workplace discrimination within the government.
    Print out a cheat sheet, keep the polls flowing smoothly.

  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist October 23, 2008

    I studied that blue book and marked my cheat sheet. Taking that to the polls made the whole thing pretty painless! (Well, it was painless at the polls, but my head was swimming during my “study sessions”…that’s for sure!!)

    Of course, my hubby made fun of me (jokingly) for studying the blue book…but now he wants to see my notes. HA! 🙂

    I will also say that voting early was one of the best things we could do. I was able to take my little girl to the polls and she got a taste of the process, but we didn’t have to wait in line!

  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist October 23, 2008

    I always forget my web address! Sorry…

  • comment avatar One Mom's Opinion October 23, 2008

    I voted at my kitchen table by mail in ballot. The only time I vote in person is during the primaries.

    It’s so much easier and quicker. I don’t have to worry about lines, the weather or anything, but where I need to drop off my ballot.

  • comment avatar Lori October 23, 2008

    What a great post. I’m so glad you did this.

    I’ve been studying my ballot for a week now, researching each issue and looking beyond the freakish agenda ads for each organized side.

    At least I’m not holding up the line :-).

  • comment avatar Marge October 23, 2008

    Some of us opted to vote by mail this year to avoid what is sure to be a long wait in line. Voting at my kitchen table with the internet on hand was wonderful and I feel I made very informed choices.

    Voting by mail is great but BE FOREWARNED – the extra long ballots are heavier than a normal letter. Be sure to take them to the post office for the correct postage. My Elbert County ballot cost $.59 and I’m told the Arapahoe ballot is $1.17. Put the right postage on your ballot to be sure your precious vote is counted!

  • comment avatar Melissa D October 23, 2008


  • comment avatar Kagey October 24, 2008

    I walked my Arapahoe ballot to the early voting place, and handed it in. They had a drop box for the poll workers to put it in. So, it cost zero cents to mail! 😀
    I also liked voting with the internet on hand, to read a few more points before making final decisions. I think the trickiest one is 58, both in how it is worded, and what the opposition is saying. I won’t say how I voted on it though!
    In general, most of those amendments that they are trying to stick into the STATE CONSTITUTION ought to be, at most, in the statutory law instead. So I’m biased against amendments from the outset. That’s why I voted for Initiative O – it makes it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot and easier to put statutory ones.
    VOTE YES ON “O”!

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