Over 3.5 million ballots are flooding the state. How should you vote?
The Colorado “Blue Book” is out, as well as the El Paso County Notice of Election. Approximately 333,866 ballots were mailed on Monday, October 13 by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office.
What follows are my own observations and recommendations (except where noted) based on my extensive reading, studying, interviews and participation in the process. As always, vote your conscience and your principles. Vote for the Constitution and the rule of law.
NOTE on the Blue Book: This is NOT an unbiased document! It is put together by a Legislative Committee of the General Assembly. With respect to the judges, they are rated on such silly criteria as their demeanor in court and whether the trial attorneys, who make the recommendations, like them. As I’ll note below, Clear the Bench Colorado does a much more thorough job of rating their performance with respect to upholding the Colorado Constitution and the rule of law.
Governor: Bob Beauprez. There are those who thought Hickenlooper would be good for Colorado: a Democrat who was also a businessman. He’s been a disaster. He has been highly partisan, signing everything the radical Democrat-controlled legislature passed, whether it was gun control, “civil unions” (same-sex marriage in all but name, literally), election “reform”—everything on the radical left agenda but nothing for the Colorado economy which continues to bleed jobs.
Beauprez did jump in at the last minute and bypass the assembly process but he couldn’t help but to better than Hickenlooper. Let’s give Bob a chance. Hickenlooper is an already proven failure.
U.S. Senate: Cory Gardner. Gardner took a risk, leaving a safe House seat to run against an incumbent senator with a whole lot of money, much of it from the environmental lobby. Gardner has about a 60% Conservative voting record and while that’s not as good as Doug Lamborn, it is about 60% better than Sen. Udall.
Sen. Uterus, as he is becoming known, is a complete Obama-bot, voting with the party 99% of the time. He isn’t addressing any serious issues in this campaign, instead preferring to carry on the fictional war-on-women. In fact, he’s really been carrying on a war on energy. Even the Denver Post has endorsed Gardner.
Time to elect someone who can think for himself—and Coloradans.
Secretary of State: Wayne Williams. Williams is our own El Paso County Clerk and Recorder and we couldn’t want to a better one. He actually quit the highly corrupt Clerk and Recorders Association and has stood for election integrity. Scott Gessler wasn’t a bad Secretary of State: Wayne Williams will be even better.
Attorney General: Cynthia Coffman. I can’t say enough about the integrity and honesty of this woman. As deputy AG she has been loyal and has done what needed to be done for the people of Colorado. Once installed in the top spot she will be a tireless advocate for liberty and the rule of law.
Treasurer: Walker Stapleton. He has done a good job in his first term, focusing on the problems with PERA even though he has little statutory power to fix it. His opponent is Democrat Party hack Betsy Markey. Markey rode into Congress on the 2008 wave but was defeated by Cory Gardner in 2010. The Party “parked” her in a cushy Department of Homeland Security political appointee job until putting her up to run for State Treasurer, a job for which she has almost no credentials.
El Paso County
In this county, many elections are decided by the time the primary is over since some run unopposed. I am quite happy with our selections for Sheriff and County Treasurer, which were contested. I won’t comment on those running unopposed
Vote FOR Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton if you’re in their districts. They have been the best two advocates of liberty on the commission and deserve re-election.
Some House seats that need mentioning:
HD 15: Gordon Klingenschmitt. Head and shoulders above his Democrat opponent. Gordon will represent us well in Denver—and probably provide a never-ending source of exploding-head syndrome for the opposition. I’ve written about Gordon here.
HD-18: Michael Schlierf. Michael is running a dynamic blue-collar Conservative campaign the like of which we have not seen before. He will be an awesome advocate for the people of his district. His opponent, Pete Lee, acts like an absentee landlord, coming around only when he needs votes. I’ve written about Michael here.
Amendment 67: Definition of Person and Child. YES. This is essentially a fetal homicide amendment. Currently, if someone causes the death of a pregnant woman in Colorado, they can be charged with the death of the mother but not her unborn child. This bill would fix that. Arguments against raise the usual uncertainty and doubt but really have nothing substantive in them. Will there be follow-on legal wrangling? Quite possibly. I’ve consulted a couple of legislators I trust on this amendment and am satisfied that not only is it a good idea but that it is good law.
Amendment 68: Horse Racetrack Casino Gambling. NO. There is one issue committee pushing this bill and you’ve probably seen the ads saying that it will benefit a New Jersey Casino. Regardless of who it benefitted, I wouldn’t want something like this in the state Constitution. Saying “it’s for he children” doubly damns it. NO, no, no.
Proposition 104: School Board Meeting Requirements. YES. A vaguely-worded title but the purpose is to open to the light of day school board-union negotiations. This definitely needs to be done. Most other public meetings in the state are subject to sunshine laws, this should be too. The Independence Institute is behind this one and good for them.
Proposition 105: Labeling Genetically Modified Food. NO. This would be a nightmare for Colorado producers for very little value. It is very detailed but the phrase “the department shall issue specific regulations…” sends chills up my spine. This proposition would likely give the state complete authority over the production and distribution of all food under the name of seeing whether or not it contains something genetically modified. If the people really want to know, let them press producers themselves and voluntarily publish the results.
El Paso County initiatives
NOTE: The two County initiatives are on the back side of my ballot, all by themselves. No matter which county you’re voting in, be sure to check the reverse to make sure you don’t miss anything!
1A- Retain Excess tax revenue. NO. TABOR requires that taxing districts refund excess tax revenue to the taxpayers, but officials have the option to ask voters to retain the taxes. They always do. And they always find popular projects like roads and parks to spend it on. In reality, one of two things usually happens: either the money is spent on “nice to haves” that aren’t really necessary or money already set aside for the purposes they name gets moved to other, perhaps less popular projects.
1C- Limit the County Sheriff to two terms. No strong opinion either way. State term limits law limits local offices to two terms; voters can override that. In El Paso County, the County Commissioners put a misleading initiative on the ballot a few years ago that extended term limits for themselves to three terms. A citizen-led initiative changed that back to two terms. The only county elected office that still sits at three terms is County Sheriff. If you think the Sheriff’s term limits should be the same as all the others, vote Yes. If you think the Sheriff’s department could benefit from the stability of a longer-serving sheriff, vote No. Whatever you do, don’t base your decision on whether you like the current sheriff or not.
Colorado has a provision in the state Constitution that judges are not appointed for life but must seek periodic re-election. These “retention” elections are not partisan but rather are an opportunity for citizens to kick out judges who don’t judge according to the law. Today so many judges create law from the bench that it is not far-fetched to say that we are living under judicial tyranny.
Unfortunately, the people don’t take advantage of these opportunities to remove lawless judges. The Blue Book is of almost no help. This year of all the judges rated there was only one (1) committee recommended vote not to retain.
This is a shame. The Colorado Supreme Court, for example, has taken upon itself the authority to decide in redistricting cases and even to change the criteria used to determine districts. There is no constitutional basis for this and the result is a highly-gerrymandered set of districts.
Fortunately, Clear the Bench Colorado has stepped into the void and made detailed analyses of judges’ decisions for significant cases involving Constitutional principles. However, CTBC is not allowed to make specific recommendations about how you should vote—so I will. In addition to CTBC, Dr. Chuck Corry of the Equal Justice Foundation has made a thorough review of judges and made a judge-by-judge recommendation.
Supreme Court Justices
NO on both. Boatright is a Hickenlooper appointee; Marquez was appointed to fill a last-minute vacancy in 2010 when the Chief Justice, under pressure to be voted out, retired to allow her vacancy to be filled just before the election. Marquez, according to her Blue Book bio, is a member of the Colorado BLGT Bar Association and chaired the Denver Mayor’s (i.e., Hickenlooper’s) GLBT Commission.
These two vote for the Constitution only about half the time. Not nearly good enough.
Appelate Court Judges
NO on both. They, too, vote against the Constitution.
There are a large number of judges up for retention every election and they vary so much by your voting district that it would be impossible for me to make meaningful recommendations. I highly recommend Clear the Bench as a source of information. CTBC lists more sources if you want even more information. For El Paso County and the 4th Judicial District, see Sen. Lambert's and the EJF Foundation recommendations (links below). At least some of Lambert's recommendations are from out District Attorney Dan May.
When in doubt, vote them out.
Liberty activists in Colorado have worked hard to get good candidates for the legislature on the election slate and I don’t think what the Republican Party in Colorado has to offer voters has ever been better. Even the weakest ones today are far better than any Colorado Democrat, who are simply party appointees. Principles of Liberty rates each legislator on their votes, and the Democrats vote lockstep against your liberties.
State Senate Candidates
No set of recommendations would be complete without recommending the senators who replaced the two radical Democrats who were recalled in 2013 for their support of gun control. Vote FOR:
Senate District 11 – Bernie Herpin. Solid pro-gun supporter. His opponent Mike Merrifield headed Bloomberg’s Colorado organization and he has pledged to start where John Morse left off.
Senate District 3 – George Rivera. This former Pueblo Deputy Chief of Police is as principled a man as you would ever want to meet. He deserves your support.
Senate District 19 – Laura Woods. She’s not actually the senator who replaced Evie Hudak. Hudak resigned rather than be recalled and flip the Senate into Republican control. Her actual replacement, Rachel Zenzinger, is even more radical and needs to be replaced with Laura, who was active in the recall. I’ve written about Laura here.
Clear the Bench Colorado rates judges on their respect for the Constitution and the rule of law
Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) rates legislators on tax issues—and has done since 1976.
Principles of Liberty Colorado rates legislators on respect for a total of eight principles.
Equal Justice Foundation also rates judges.