Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Last Friday, I picked up the Nov. 4 sample ballot at the county clerk’s office and holy Toledo, let the studying begin!

At least I know which of the 16 presidential candidates I’m voting for (Obama), and am intrigued by the listing for the Boston Tea Party but probably won’t have time to look into it with 18 state amendments and resolutions taking up the bulk of the ballot, plus nine more for the city, county and school district.

Get a sample ballot, mark it up as you listen to the discussions and read the information, and take it with you to the polls (VOTE EARLY!) or the lines are going to be mighty long.

I look forward to the little blue book, which comes in the mail and will be available at the library and county clerk’s office. This is a compilation of the state amendments and referendums written in plain English, along with the pros and cons. The entire questions will appear in The Aspen Times (get out your magnifying glass!).

Consider Referendum O, as it appears on the ballot (i.e., the short version): “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning ballot initiatives, and, in connection therewith, increasing the number of signatures required for a proposed initiative to amend the state constitution; reducing the number of signatures required for a proposed statutory initiative; requiring a minimum number of signatures for a proposed initiative to amend the state constitution to be gathered from residents of each congressional district in the state; increasing the time allowed to gather signatures for a proposed statutory initiative; modifying the review of initiative petitions; establishing a filing deadline for proposed initiatives to amend the state constitution; and requiring a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly to amend, repeal, or supersede any law enacted by an initiative for a period of five years after the law becomes effective?”

Yes or No? This is the kind of question you don’t want to be facing for the first time in the voting booth!

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Amendments, by the way, are brought forward by citizen petition. Referendums are proposed by the Legislature. Those very hard-to-read questions all in capital letters (required by law) are ones that have to do with taxes.

As I await clarifications of the questions, I find myself making decisions on the basis of negative ads. We are being hammered by ads against Amendment 58, put out by the Coloradoans for a Stable Economy, saying that Governor Ritter is imposing a $321 million tax increase that will trickle down to be paid for by the voters. These ads are so blatantly self-serving that my visceral reaction was, “I’m definitely going to vote for 58!” This is a long-overdue tax on the oil and gas companies.

Bob Schaffer’s nasty ads are compelling arguments to vote for Mark Udall, and a recent mailing featuring a grim, bald cop from Commerce City claiming that Amendments 47, 49 and 54 will make it “Tougher for Him to Keep Us Safe,” got my attention because it contained no information whatsoever, just a fear ad, paid for by Protect Colorado’s Future. I think not.

The Internet searches lead to blog rants, so I wait for the questions to be published in

The Aspen Times and the little blue book. My homework is cut out for me.

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