Do We Have a Caucus?

Four November ballot measures could change Colorado politics, starting in the living room.

Save the Caucus has the support of numerous county Democratic and Republican party chairs, but it may not have the money to launch a vigorous counterattack. In fact, members are so worried about the potential for anti-caucus ads that they asked the Bighorn Center not to run any. Lamm found that request laughable: "We haven't set a budget for advertising yet, but it's true that we will do whatever we need to do to get this passed."

Save the Caucus members are considering other ways to fight the measure in the weeks leading up to November 5. Just as the caucus squashers are likely to play up that good-old-boy perception of caucuses, the caucus savers will appeal to a voter's sense of patriotism. "They want to take away the right of the people to assemble in their neighborhoods every two years," Perington says. "It's un-democratic and un-American."

Three more voter-related initiatives will be on the November 5 ballot.

Former Colorado Democratic Party chairman Phil Perington wants to save the state's caucuses.
James Bludworth
Former Colorado Democratic Party chairman Phil Perington wants to save the state's caucuses.

The League of Women Voters of Colorado, Colorado Common Cause, Colorado Public Interest Research Group and the Interfaith Alliance have co-authored a campaign-finance reform initiative that would limit the amount of money political candidates can receive. For example, private individuals and political action committees would be able to donate no more than $500 to candidates for statewide offices such as governor, lieutenant governor or state treasurer. Candidates running for state representative, state senate, state board of education, University of Colorado regent or district attorney would be able to accept no more than $200 from each individual or PAC. The initiative would also impose voluntary spending limits on candidates: Those running for state representative would be expected to spend no more than $65,000 on their campaigns, while those running for governor would be asked not to exceed $2.5 million.

In addition to the Open Ballot Access Initiative, Bighorn Ballot is sponsoring the Automatic Absentee Ballot Initiative, an effort to make voting more convenient. This initiative calls for all active voters to automatically receive an absentee ballot two weeks prior to any election; it also would double voter-fraud penalties. Even if the initiative passes, however, voters will still get to vote in person at polling places.

The Colorado Voter Initiative, pushed by Colorado State Board of Education member Jared Polis and former state senator John Donley, also proposes to make voting easier and increase voter turnout. Currently, Colorado residents must be registered at least a month before an election in order to vote in that election. But with this initiative, people would be able to register on election day at their polling places and vote immediately thereafter.

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