Your Guide To Colorado's 2016 Ballot
Medical aid in dying, a boost in the minimum wage and a measure to make it harder to amend Colorado’s constitution are among the 9 measures that voters will have to sift through on their ballots. This guide breaks down those statewide issues.
Amendment 69: State Health Care System
Proposed Initiative No. 20
Also known as ColoradoCare
If passed, the so-called “Colorado Care” initiative would provide a statewide health care system. It would largely replace private health insurance and be funded mainly through a 10 percent payroll tax that would be divided between the employee, who would pay one third, and the employer who would pay two thirds. When the initiative is fully implemented, all sources of income for every adult resident of Colorado would be taxed at a rate of 10 percent. An independently-elected board of trustees would oversee the system. People could keep their private insurance, but they would still have to pay taxes funding the system. If passed, there would be no deductibles from the state system. Initiative 20 has divided liberal groups. Some think that a constitutional ban on using “public funds” for abortion approved by voters in 1984 would prohibit Colorado Care from covering the procedure. Those in favor say that if it was added to the constitution, it would supersede the past amendment.
This would make it harder to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. It would require that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least two percent of the registered voters in each state senate district. Right now, petitioners can collect most of their signatures in the most populous areas of the state. It would also increase the percentage of votes needed to pass any proposed constitutional amendment from a majority to at least fifty-five percent, unless it repeals any of the state constitution.
Proposition 108: Primary Elections
Proposed Initiative No. 98
This would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections. Right now, voters have to become a member and register with a certain party, also known as a closed primary system. A primary isn’t a given though. If 75 percent of the party’s central committee agrees, Republicans and Democrats could decide to instead choose their general election nominees at the assembly or convention. This would not create a presidential primary, but if passed unaffiliated voters could participate in primaries for things like statehouse races, treasurer, and U.S. Senate.
This initiative would raise Colorado’s minimum wage .90 each January, beginning in 2017 until the minimum wage is $12 per hour in 2020. It would then be adjusted annually based on the state’s Consumer Price Index. As it stands, the Colorado Constitution already requires the minimum wage to be adjusted annually for inflation. The state minimum wage is currently $8.31 an hour. Some business groups are opposed to the measure, saying it would make employees more expensive, while supporters say workers cannot afford basic necessities if they earn the current Colorado minimum wage.
Proposition 107: Presidential Primary Election
Proposed Initiative No. 140
Remember the controversy during Colorado’s 2016 caucuses? If this passes, Colorado would once again have a presidential primary. It would be held before the end of March in presidential election years, and unaffiliated voters could participate without declaring a party. One of the reasons Colorado got rid of the presidential primary in the past was the cost. Parties pay for the caucuses, but state taxpayers would be responsible for a primary, with estimates ranging from $2 million to $7 million.
As part of an effort to encourage people not to smoke or use tobacco products, this initiative would add an extra $1.75 in taxes to a pack of cigarettes. It would also increase taxes on other tobacco products by 22 percent. Supporters say the measure would bring in $315 million in its first year. That money is earmarked for programs to help people stop smoking and to discourage kids from starting. It would also fund research on tobacco-use-related diseases. Other portions of that money would go toward veterans’ health programs and to help pay off the student loans of doctors who work in rural areas as well as to expand access to health care.
This would allow a terminally-ill adult to obtain a prescription to end their life. The initiative requires that two physicians must agree that a person - who must be at least 18 years old - has a terminal illness with less than six months to live and is mentally competent. The ill person must be able to self-administer the drugs that cause death. If passed, Colorado would be the sixth state in the nation to authorize some type of end of life option for the terminally ill.
Two measures were referred to the ballot by the Colorado General Assembly:
Amendment T - would remove an exception to the prohibition of slavery that allows individuals to be held in involuntary servitude if convicted of a crime in the state constitution.
Amendment U - is a property tax exemption for interest earnings of less than $6,000 off of leasing government property, beginning in 2018.
Eligible Coloradans can now text the word "Colorado" to “2Vote” (28683) to register to vote, update their address, change their party affiliation, view their sample ballot 45 days before an election or check the status of their voted ballot. They can also get important dates and deadlines pertaining to Nov. 8 general election or future elections.