Who to vote for
That is only the tip of the iceberg: there are Congressional and state legislators to choose, judges to review and additional ballot initiatives and questions. It can be overwhelming. To help you with your choices, I've gathered together some recommendations and ideas, not only mine but also from other Tea Party sources such as the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots.
First, some general guidelines.
The Democrats in Colorado started taking over the state in 2006 using what is now called the Colorado Model. All Colorado Democrat legislators are Progressives. There is one exception in the House that proves the rule, but otherwise, you're always better of voting Republican. We Tea Party activists have spent a lot of time and treasure getting good candidates on the ballot this year. For some specific recommendations, see my Candidates page. Win control or not, this legislature is going to be better than the last one.
Raising taxes in the middle of this deep recession is a bad idea. It is not only the Feds who want to do it. When the economy recovers, so will tax collections. Meanwhile, government needs to tighten its belt just like the people who fund it. The default option ought to be No for every tax increase.
Judges in this state aren't appointed for life; they come up for election periodically. In this country we have an Imperial Judiciary who often rule the way they see fit, not according to the Constitution or the rule of law. Here again the default retention option is No, but there are good ones and Clear the Bench Colorado provides meaningful recommendations.
Now for specifics:
State legislature: the best Republican liberty candidates I know of are list on my Candidates page. In all other cases, even the moderate Republicans are going to be better than the Progressive Democrats they face.
Congressional districts: We have challengers in all the races and again they're all better than their opponents--like Jared Polis, one of the most corrupt members on Congress who has already managed to double his net worth by insider trading.
Voting on judges is a crap shoot unless you are armed with knowledge. The state legislature-sponsored Blue Book is almost totally useless. They rate the judges on such "important" criteria as demeanor and fairness--things that are either trivial or highly subjective. And it is compiled on the votes of the trial lawyers--who generally lean heavily left.
My recommendation is to go to Clear the Bench Colorado, where they have reviewed how judges have ruled on constitutional issues. Not all judges rule on those kinds of cases, of course, and CTBC doesn't provide recommendations for judges below the District Court level.
When in doubt, I apply the rules:
- The default is No.
Anyone appointed by Ritter or Hickenlooper is bound to be a Progressive, so vote No.
Look at the bio notes: does this person sound like a Progressive? Has he or she gone to Progressive law schools? If so, vote No. Search for their history online: it is all out there.
Some specific recommendations:
- Colorado Supreme Court: Coats, Yes.
- Court of Appeals: Casebolt, Graham, Webb, Yes. All others, No.
- 4th Judicial District: Lowrey, Shakes, Yes. All others, No.
- El Paso County Judges: Wilson, Yes. All others, No.
Amendment 64 is about legalizing marijuana in Colorado. If you want to legalize pot, prove to me that you can keep it out of the hands of school kids. I recommend No.
Amendment 65 is a rather bizarre amendment. It seeks to put into the state constitution a recommendation that our Congressional representatives advocate for an amendment to the US Constitution about campaign finance. You read that right. Campaign finance laws generally work to advantage incumbents at the expense of free speech and challengers. A 65 is being run by people who disagree with The Citizens United decision. Vote No.
Amendment S is a complex issue. State bureaucrats want to "modernize" the state personnel system to exempt twice as many people. I other words, the governor would have twice as many appointments of make. This politicizes the system more and limits opportunities for career civil servants. In addition, there is a recommendation to expand hiring preferences for veterans. What they don't tell you openly is that veterans ALREADY get a hiring preference for the first state job they apply for. After they're "in the system," they compete like everyone else. They want to expand preferences to include every job the happily for.
I'm a disabled veteran and so sympathetic to veteran's preferences. I dislike preferences generally but think someone who has taken him or herself out of the workforce to serve deserves a preference when they re-enter it. They already have that preference.
Finally, they want more flexibility on who they hire out of a group of qualified candidates. They essentially want to be able to pick less qualified candidates than the top scorers.
I am skeptical that these changes can be misused. The pro-Amendment S billboards say the rules were written when typewriters were still in use. Really? Is the tool to use to record the rules the best reason you have to change the rules?
On balance, I have to recommend No.
Tax increases in El Paso County
PPRTA. This tax is expiring and the City and County want to see it extended. When it was first proposed, there were a number of large projects that it funded and it wasn't a bad idea. This time around they've put the kitchen sink into fund. It is going to fund everything they can think of to make room in the regular budget for other spending without asking you for an increase. Let it expire. I recommend No.
Monument Fire Department. They're asking for more than $1 million or else the signs advocating this tax threaten to close a fire station. Oldest trick in the book: give us what we want or we'll cut basic services. Vote No.
Term limits for County officers are on the ballot again. Because many people felt the wording of the previous term limits question was deceptive, the issue was (reluctantly) put on the ballot again. This time the wording is torturous and still confusing. Bottom line: if you want the term limits changed back to two terms (vice three), you need to vote Yes.
Additional comprehensive sources of information:
The NRA has a guide for legislators and candidates who are pro-Second Amendment.
Clear the Bench Colorado.for information about state-wide judges.
One last comment: do a paper ballot whether it is by mail or at the polling place. It is too easy to fool the machines and too many have already been defaulting to "Obama" no matter what you vote. The machines I've seen in El Paso County seem fair and are "zeroed out" in front of the poll watchers at the beginning and end of the day. Voter beware.