Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Great Way to Vote

In Colorado we are voting by mail!

In May of 2013 the state Senate passed a measure to have ballots mailed to all registered voters.  If you didn't want to mail in your vote, you could drop it off at a voting center or go to a voting booth.  This is the first major election under this new system.

Ben and I had registered to vote at the farmer's market --pretty convenient! -- so we received this notice in the mail a while back.

Sure enough, our official ballots arrived last week. We had three weeks to complete them and mail them in. 

By that time we had also received a printed "Voter's Guide 2014" and a "2014 State Ballot Information Booklet" which includes a "Recommendations on Retention of Judges."   I was glad to get them and consulted them often as I filled out my ballot, especially as I decided on how to vote on some of the interesting local issues that are on the ballot this year. 

Several involve raising property or sales taxes temporarily to fund flood recovery efforts (from the terrible flooding of September 2013),  to provide "a safety net" for families and children of Boulder County in financial need, and to fund several arts and civic projects of benefit to the community.   I voted "yes" on all of these; can you tell I'm liberal and proud of it?   I'm not alone around here but  our combined city, state, county and transit taxes already run 8.36% so we'll see if people have reached their limit.   My guess is "no" and that these new taxes will pass.  

Another one that I'm rooting for is a measure to raise property taxes over the next thirty years to fund much-needed repairs to the Boulder Valley schools through a $576 million bond.   If Paul's school, which was built in 1934, is any indication, it is certainly needed.  

The Colorado-wide amendments we're voting on include one to declare a fetus a person (no, thanks), one to establish more horse track racing and casino gambling (again, no thanks),  and another to require labeling of all genetically modified foods (that was tough; I finally voted no, probably canceling out Ben's vote.).  

In Maryland the Democratic candidates always won, making voting very unexciting, but here every Democratic vote counts.   We have a neck-to-neck Senate race of Senator Mark Udall against U.S. Representative Cory Gardner and a tight Governor's race of Governor John Hickenlooper against Republican Bob Beauprez.  

I found I loved voting by mail.  Colorado is one of five states that allow mail-in voting (along with Oregon, Arizona, California, Montana, and Hawaii) and I'm glad to be part of it.   Well, at least until I got to the part about putting on the right amount of stamps.  It took 69cents to mail in my ballot so I rooted through our collection of stamps to find one old 39 cent stamp and three ten cent stamps.   But it turned out they were one cent stamps that I had mistakenly turned upside down to look like ten cent stamps.   Good thing Ben saw the mistake when he took my ballot out to our mailbox to leave for the postman!  Next time I'd better just drop my ballot off at the voting center!

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