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A Look at the 2020 State Ballot

Issues regarding abortion, paid leave on the 2020 ballot.

Abortion, paid family leave, and electoral college all up for vote in the state ballot.
Photo by John Mazzetta • The Sentry

Coloradan voters have gotten their little blue books recently, and there are a variety of issues that will be voted on that could change the lives of Coloradans. All of the following ballot initiatives will be on the 2020 State Ballot.

First off, Colorado will be voting on four different amendments. Amendment B would repeal the Gallagher Amendment, which was a piece of legislation passed in the 1980s. The Gallagher Amendment restricts property tax from increasing at a county level every four years. It is similar to TABOR, the Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights, but it primarily impacts the amount of tax money counties can bring in. While this amendment is less flashy than some other propositions on the ballot this year, it is incredibly important for voters who believe that local governments should have the ability to produce some form of revenue that can be used towards public services.  

Amendment C: Conduct of Charitable Gaming primarily focuses on gaming events put on by non-profits. Approval would allow the games put on by these organizations to be conducted by paid workers who are not a member of the non-profit. It would also allow nonprofits to apply for a bingo-raffle license after three years of operation in the State of Colorado. 

Amendment 76 deals with citizenship and its relation to voting. This amendment is fairly straightforward;  however, it doesn’t provide the information that citizenship is already a requirement to vote under Article 7 of the Colorado Constitution. Everyone also already has to be a citizen in order to vote according to federal law.  Jana Everett, a professor of Political Science at CU Denver, commented on several of the ballot initiatives. “There are several of the propositions and amendments that appeal to conservative voters, particularly the ban on abortion and the citizenship question, Amendment 76. This could be an attempt to galvanize more conservative members of the Republican Party to come out and vote in the 2020 election, in an attempt to gain more voters for Trump and Gardner,” said Everett. 

Amendment 77 would grant the citizens of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek the ability to approve, by vote, new casino games that are brought in. It would also grant the citizens of these cities and towns the ability to regulate the amount a single bet can be. 

Proposition EE would be an incremental increase on the taxes of nicotine liquids used in vaping products and e-cigarettes. This would increase the amount of state taxes by $294,000,000 that would be acquired through incrementally increasing the state tax on tobacco products by up to 22% of the manufacturer’s listing price. This proposition is intended to reduce the amount of tobacco and nicotine usage. The majority of these taxes would go towards funding schools. 

Proposition 113 would grant Colorado’s electors to whoever won the popular vote, keeping the State of Colorado in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Colorado adopted the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact in March last year, making it the 13th state to do so. This is a highly-debated issue from the 2019 legislative session in Colorado, with Republicans arguing that this unfairly favors Democratic presidential candidates, and that it could result in state electors being awarded to someone who did not achieve a majority in the state. A “Yes, for” vote would keep Colorado in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, but more states will have to adopt the compact for Colorado’s nine electoral votes to go to whoever wins the most votes nationwide. A “No, against” vote means a voter opposes Colorado being involved in the compact. As it stands, Colorado gives their nine electoral votes to whoever wins the most votes in the state.

As it currently stands, the electoral college allocates votes based on how the state is represented in Congress by adding how many representatives a state has to the two senators a state has. For example, Wyoming has three electoral votes. For a quick comparison, Wyoming’s three electoral votes represent the population of 586,107 people, whereas California’s 39,144,818 people are represented by 55 electoral votes. If these votes are distributed evenly amongst the states’ residences, then one vote in Wyoming carries 3.6 times more influence, or weight, than one vote from California.  

Proposition 114 would reintroduce gray wolves to designated areas, predominantly in state parks west of the continental divide. The reintroduction would be regulated and managed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. This proposition would also establish a fund to fairly compensate any losses of livestock caused by gray wolves.  

Proposition 115 would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks, which, as Prof. Jana Everett mentioned, is one of the propositions intended to boost conservative, Republican turnout. According to the CDC, only 1.4% of abortions occur after 22 weeks and are usually done when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s health or if lethal fetal abnormalities are detected. As it stands now, the decision to terminate a pregnancy so far along the process is something that is made as a last case resort to prevent harm to the mother. 

Proposition 116 would decrease the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%. Interestingly, prior to the 1980s, the income tax never dipped below 70%. Considering how low the state income tax already is, and considering that Colorado has already seen a loss in revenue due to COVID-19, voters will have to weigh whether or not a minute reduction in state income tax would really be a benefit to them, especially if that would result in the cancelation of state-funded programs.  

Proposition 117 would require voter approval for tax increases on enterprises that are currently exempt from TABOR. These enterprises include: Higher Education Colleges, Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise, the Colorado Lottery, Unemployment Insurance, Parks and Wildlife, Correctional Industries, and the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund. Considering these programs are primarily geared to help lower-income individuals and students, Proposition 117 seeks to restrict the power of the state government when it comes to providing services to Coloradans. 

Finally, Proposition 118 would create a paid family and medical leave for all covered employees with a serious health condition, who are caring for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition. This proposition would exempt employers with fewer than 10 employees and create a division of family and medical leave insurance under the department of labor and employment to administer and enforce the program. When asked which issue she thought voters were most likely to overlook, Prof. Everett said, “I think Prop 118, paid family and medical leave, is so important. The United States is one of the few rich countries in the world not to provide paid medical leave and paid family leave is super important for keeping women in the workforce. With COVID-19, we are already seeing a decrease in women in the workforce and that impacts people across the gender spectrum.” 

Colorado’s variety of ballot issues are arguably just as important this year as the presidential election. Colorado ballots were sent out Oct. 9. For those voting by mail, ballots should be turned in as soon as possible in order to be counted before election day, Nov. 3. For those voting in-person, polling locations open on Oct. 26 and will remain open until Nov. 3.  

This is a selection from the Oct. 14 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/323923/

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