How I Voted and Why: Updated

Here’s how I voted on Colorado’s boisterous ballot issues. Also my take on candidate races and judges, including new material on RTD and more about the “fair maps” redistricting debate (scroll clear down for that). As a voter, you have a big hammer. Use it well!

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The issues: Thirteen changes to the state constitution or laws are up for decision by we the people. That’s a lot to wade through. 

But they boil down to a few common-sense ideas — more jobs, more roads, less taxes, better maps for electing congressmen and legislators and — “when in doubt, vote no.”

Take the big ones first. 

Vote no on 112 because it will throw many thousands out of work and tank the economy by shutting down the state’s oil and gas industry. 

Vote no on 73 and 110 because we’re already overtaxed. Smarter spending, not higher taxes, is the answer for our schools and roads. 

Vote yes on 109 to build those roads by bonding existing revenue, like a mortgage on your house. 

Vote yes on Y and Z to stop the gerrymandering by which politicians pick their voters instead of vice versa.

Now for the smaller ones. 

Vote yes on A so it’s clear a convict isn’t a slave.

Vote yes on 75 so ordinary candidates can take bigger donations when mega-rich candidates spend their own millions.

Vote no on 111 so consenting adults can borrow and lend for mutual benefit, without the nanny state babying them.

Vote no on 74 so endless lawsuits over land use don’t paralyze the give and take between property rights and public need.

Vote no on V (age of eligibility), unless you want college kids as lawmakers. Yikes!

Vote yes on W (judicial ballot format) and X (hemp definition) for constitutional housekeeping.

So that’s my recommendation on all thirteen. Reasonable people can differ on the last nine. Do as you think best. 

But on the first four — more jobs, more roads, less taxes — it’s an easy call, and a vital one.  

Get those wrong and Coloradans will really regret it. Let’s get’em right!

To summarize, in the order listed on your ballot:

V = No

W= Yes

X = Yes

Y = Yes

Z = Yes

A = Yes

73 = No

74 = No

75 = Yes

109 = Yes

110 = No 

111 = No

112 = No

Judges up for retention: I’ll cast a solid no-vote on all of them.

Nothing personal, since most do a pretty good job.

But our state’s performance evaluation system is toothless, and ultimately we need judicial term limits. By turning thumbs down, we send that message.

Candidate races: Please join me in voting a straight Republican ticket.

The GOP, while obviously imperfect, is America’s best bulwark against leftism sweeping away our entire constitutional structure.

Other than the church, the Republican Party is the most important force on earth for human liberty. We need it. It needs us. There is no Plan B.

RTD Board races: The seat where I live isn’t up this year. But if voting in District N, I’d be for Peggy Catlin. In District K I’d go with Troy Whoitmore (two cheers not three).

The other races in districts B, C, J, L, and O, I would cast a blank ballot. Nobody there worth supporting.

RTD by revenue is the state’s fourth largest government. We should let parties run candidates so taxpayers can demand more competition, transparency, and accountability. Really broken!

More about Y & Z, the Fair Maps amendments: Some of my constitutional conservative friends oppose these because many Democrats back them, including the heavy money from their side. How can it not be a setup, one asks. From my Senate President experience, here’s what I told these reasonable doubters:

Right now Dems have their way with all the maps, all the time. It’s ugly. I saw it close up in 2001-2003, as did fellow legislators back then such as Rob Witwer, Mark Hillman, Ted Harvey, and Greg Brophy. 

Whereas… This complex, layered, largely blind and random new system gives R’s a fighting chance — if only by its unpredictability and un-manipulatability (new word) — a chance we didn’t have before. 

Here’s the history.  R’s worked on this for three years, D’s kept resisting. Finally the League of Women Voters agreed to play (splitting their leadership, always fun to see). 

At that point Dems began to realize they couldn’t afford to relinquish the good-government high ground to GOP.  Then their negotiators came to the table, and after taking some ownership, to save face they summoned in their big donors.

So I say to those funders on the left, welcome Stryker, welcome Bloomberg, knock yourself out. Help us pass a win-win-win better system than what now exists. 

One that gives R’s a better shake (on average) AND reduces partisan gamesmanship by either side (ours included) AND forestalls US Supreme Court jamming down on us (and all the states) an arrangement we would like even less.

That awful old briar patch of fair maps, less gerrymandering…. pleeez don’t throw me in that old briar patch.

 And further: Anti-Y & Z organizer Jan Cook replied to the above by saying she recoils from “the process of abdicating our representative responsibility (our authority, the people’s authority) to an unelected, unaccountable  bureaucrat commission.”   

 I answered her this way: Jan, I wish representative government was on the menu here. It’s just not, no way. 

Legislative maps are already under a commission, easily gamed. This commission is almost impossible to game.  

Congressional maps are nominally under elected representatives, but in 2021 that either means Dems draw and pass their self serving map, or they block any bill and kick it to their pals on state Supreme Court. R’s lose either way. 

Y and Z are vastly more fair to Republicans, indeed they are as close to a random lottery for map drawing as we could hope for.  

When the dust settles and the consequences emerge in 2021, it may turn out that Dems were in fact snookered into supporting this plan, and they will regret it.  If so, couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

Bottom line: Take your civic duty seriously!

Think on it, pray on it, act on it.

America’s future is up to us.

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