The Potential Horror of the 2008 Colorado Ballot

You civic-minded types out there have no doubt heard by now that the 2008 Colorado ballot could be the largest in the state's history. But hearing about it and seeing an approximation of what we could be facing in the voting booth in November are two very different things.

Ballotpedia.org, which describes itself as a "free, collaborative online encyclopedia" that "focuses on ballots, ballot measures, ballot access for initiatives and candidates, petition drives, the supporters and opponents of initiatives and, in general, all things ballot," provides a glimpse into what could be a very daunting future.

The site's Colorado page provides info about the eight initiatives that have already been approved, as well as the additional eleven that may very well get the nod as well:

MEASURES CERTIFIED FOR 2008 BALLOT

Referendum L: Candidate requirements Would lower the age of a candidate for the Colorado House and Senate from 25 to 21. On ballot.

Referendum M: Obsolete constitutional provisions Would eliminate obsolete provisions in the constitution about land value increases. On ballot.

Referendum N: Obsolete constitutional provisions Would eliminate obsolete provisions in the constitution about intoxicating liquor. On ballot.

Referendum O: Initiative Process Would make it harder for citizens to place constitutional amendments on the ballot for voter approval but easier to call a vote on state statutes. On ballot.

Amendment 46: Colorado Civil Rights Initiative (2008): Affirmative action Prohibit state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. On ballot, litigation pending.

Amendment 47: Right to Work initiative: Business Regulations Allow employees to opt out of union membership. On ballot, litigation pending.

Amendment 48: Definition of Personhood: Abortion Change the definition of 'person' in the Colorado Constitution to include any fertilized egg, embryo or fetus. On ballot.

Amendment 49: Ethical Standards Initiative: Ask First Prohibits payroll benefits for special interests On ballot

SIGNATURES FILED, NOT YET CERTIFIED

Initiative 59: Clean Government Initiative: Government Contracting Reform Would close a remaining loophole in Colorado election law by banning the practice of "Pay to Play." Signatures filed July 30th.

Initiative 74: Criminal Liability of Executives. Criminal Liability Would establish criminal liability for executives of businesses found guilty of criminal conduct. Signatures filed July 29th.

Initiative 76: Employee Discharge. Employee Relations Would establish just cause for employee discharge or suspension. Signatures filed Aug. 4th.

Initiative 82: Colorado Discrimination/Preferential Treatment Initiative (2008): Affirmative action Would prohibit the state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting, while preserving the state's authority to take actions consistent with eligibility for federal funding or to fulfill obligations in civil rights case orders. Signatures filed Aug. 4th.

Initiative 92: Health Insurance Initiative: Health Insurance Would require every employer that employs 20+ employees in Colorado to provide major medical health care coverage for its employees and their dependents. Would also set up a health insurance authority to administer the program. Signatures filed Aug. 4th.

Initiative 93: Safe Workplace InitiativeL Workplace Conditions Would require employers to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. Signatures filed Aug. 4th.

Initiative 113: Severance Tax Initiative: Taxes Would eliminate a tax credit for property taxes paid for payers of the severance tax, using the revenue primarily to fund college scholarships. Signatures filed Aug. 4th.

Initiative 120: Severance Tax & Transportation Initiative: Severance Tax, Transportation Would create the Colorado Transportation Trust Fund, to be funded by that portion of the severance tax that exceeds the amount deposited to the state severance tax fund in the previous year, adjusted for inflation via the Consumer Price Index. Signatures filed July 29th.

Initiative 121: Limited Gaming Initiative: Gambling Would allow the general assembly or voters in the cities that permit limited gaming to extend the hours of limited gaming operations; to add roulette, craps, or both to the allowed games; and to increase the maximum bet up to $100, with extra tax revenue generated to be distributed 22% to the cities where limited gaming exists and 78% for student financial aid for higher education. Signatures filed July 25th.

Initiative 126: Savings Account for Education Initiative: Education Funding Would create a state education fund, to be funded by a .33% tax on federal taxable income of every individual, estate, trust, and corporation, and would require that state educational spending increase by rate of inflation plus 1% through 2012 and at no less than the rate of inflation thereafter. Signatures filed Aug. 4th.

Initiative 128: Sales Tax for Developmentally Disabled Initiative: Services for Developmentally Disabled, Sales Tax Would increase the sales tax, in July 2009 and again in July 2010, to fund services for the developmentally disabled. Signatures filed July 28th.

How are we going to have time to weigh in on so many measures, not to mention all the candidates running for office, particularly given the nightmarish voting problems that cropped up during the 2006 election? Take a vacation day? -- Michael Roberts

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