Su Lum: State questions
October 16, 2002
On Nov. 5, voters will be faced with 10 Colorado questions: five amendments to the constitution and five referendums. These are every bit as difficult to read as ever (isn’t obfuscation our second language?), but less earthshaking than usual. They will appear in this order on your ballot:
Amendment 27: This is a long and convoluted attempt to control campaign contributions which goes too far in the other direction. Example: an individual can now give $1,500 to a candidate for the state Senate. That would be cut to $200. Also, it is so complicated it will discourage people from running for office. Vote NO.
Amendment 28: A proposal to eliminate polling places and have all voting done by mail. We have enough trouble getting it right when the voters are present, and there is too much opportunity for fraud. Vote NO.
Amendment 29: This asks for the elimination of the neighborhood caucus and assembly meetings to select candidates for the primary ballot, requiring petition signatures instead. I am no fan of the caucus system, and think this will be more fair. Vote YES.
Amendment 30: This would allow Colorado citizens to register and vote on election day. I think the 29-day waiting period we have now is way too long, but there should be some window of time to get voters’ names “on the books.” This proposal would mean chaos at the polls! Vote NO.
Amendment 31: This is the most important question of the 10 ? setting state standards for the way English is taught in our schools to non-English-speaking students. This should be decided by individual school districts, not by the bureaucracy. Vote NO.
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Referendum A: Eliminates term limits for elected district attorneys. Being opposed to any and all term limits, I will vote YES.
Referendum B: This would allow local governments to enter into public/private ownership of local health care services, instead of contracting with private companies as they do now. I don’t think local governments should be investing taxpayer money in something they know little to nothing about. Vote NO.
Referendum C: This asks that the state legislature set the qualifications and standards for county coroners. Again, this should be up to individual localities, not the bureaucrats. Vote NO.
Referendum D: This is a housekeeping measure to remove obsolete items from the constitution. Nothing dire here. Vote YES.
Referendum E: Establishes March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day, a paid holiday for state employees. Nothing against Chavez, but this could multiply like Aspen’s sister cities. Vote NO.
NOTE: The ballots are different this year ? no more chad punching, you fill in ovals with a pencil to indicate YES or NO. Check out the sample ballot in this week’s Aspen Times Weekly to familiarize yourself both with the new format and the questions ? there are a lot of them!
[Su Lum is a longtime local whose e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]
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