Every election cycle it all comes down to turnout. Who feels moved to get off their butt and show up at the polls, or at least stamp their ballot and stick it in the mail? So much focus has been given to how the presidential race will impact turnout with such a discouraged electorate, but what about Colorado’s nine ballot initiatives? Many of these could reasonably be considered highly controversial. If you’re feeling uninspired by Clinton or Trump, maybe you’ll still want to weigh in on whether or not we should make it harder to amend our state’s constitution or whether we should raise the minimum wage.
Here is a list of all nine-ballot measures and which party (if either) we think will benefit the most from having them on the ballot:
Amendment 69 would establish ColoradoCare, a statewide health insurance system for Colorado residents. Polling on this looks abysmal, with high profile Democrats even coming out against it. That being said, those displaced Bernie supports that feel unenthused about Hilary probably love the idea of universal health care. If the Amendment 69 camp can motivate those folks to turnout, then it would definitely help the Democrats, if anyone at all.
Amendment 70 seeks to again raise Colorado’s minimum wage, now at $8.31 an hour, to $12 an hour in steps by 2020. Unions are pushing this measure hard, which bodes well for Dems. Where opposition really exists is in more rural areas where the local economies would be disproportionately hurt by such a drastic increase in the minimum wage. The campaign opposing this measure will be trying to turn out voters in more rural, more Republican parts of the state. Republicans also are more likely to be opposed on principle to a minimum wage increase, so they’ll be targeted for that reason. But ultimately, this one will be a wash given the partisan nature of the debate.
Amendment 71 would make it harder to amend the Colorado constitution. Support and opposition to this measure really run the gamut, with ideological arguments being made on both sides of the issue by people from both parties. Generally speaking though, conservatives like the idea of protecting our constitution but also worry that the measure will give greater control to establishment special interests while locking out citizens. For those reasons proponents and opponents of this campaign will certainly be targeting the Republican vote. Rural folks also like the idea of having a stronger voice in the process, so proponents of this campaign will be pushing turnout in those parts of the state, which tend to favor the GOP. And, interestingly enough, a strong opposition to this campaign is being run by the Libertarian think-tank the Independence Institute, which could also benefit Republicans. Kind of ironic that both sides are going after the GOP vote, but it sure makes this analysis easier.
Amendment 72 would put a tobacco tax into our state’s constitution. Similar argument here to Amendment 71. Republicans tend to ideologically oppose tax increases, and they also oppose locking up funds that take away the legislature’s ability to be nimble with its budget. The opposition to this will be trying to turnout Republican voters, and they are well funded enough to do it.
Proposition 106 is being called the aid in dying initiative, which would allow some terminally ill people the choice to peacefully end their life by taking medication prescribed by a physician. This is tough to call because it is probably the most emotionally charged issue on the ballot, so we image a lot people won’t be under voting this one. But ultimately, we give the advantage to the GOP. With the Catholic Church and religious right coming out strong against this measure, and their history of motivating voters on “life” issues, we do think having it on the ballot ultimately helps Republican candidates.
Proposition 107 would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in presidential primary elections. We don’t hear much from the pro or con side of this campaign, and don’t think it will have an impact on turnout much. Though it could really screw Colorado’s political parties.
Proposition 108 would allow unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries without registering with a political party. Same argument as its sister measure, Prop 107. Probably won’t impact turnout this year but would royally screw political parties.
Amendment T would do away with a lingering reference to slavery in the state constitution. It was referred to the ballot by a unanimous vote of both chambers of the state legislature. We don’t see this impacting turnout one way or the other, and we assume everyone is in favor.
Amendment U was also referred to voters by the legislature and would eliminate an obscure property that tax that collects little revenue. Again, no impact on turnout to be seen here.
Ballot Issue 4B would reauthorize the seven-county metro area’s 28-year-old Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, which funds cultural and arts institutions with a 0.1 percent sales tax that is set to expire on June 30, 2018. Liberals and Denver Democrats love this stuff, and proponents of the measure will definitely be trying to turn out those voters. Advantage here goes to the Dems.