Our Positions on the 2018 Ballot Initiatives

Your vote is your voice in determining the future of our state. It’s important that you research and vote on all the candidates and initiatives on your ballot.

Colorado voters will begin receiving their mail ballots in just ten days – and they will have some big decisions to make. Your vote is your voice in determining the future of our state. It’s important that you research and vote on all the candidates and initiatives on your ballot.

While Colorado Common Cause does not take positions on candidates who are running for office, you can check out Our Democracy 2018 to learn about where your candidates stand on democracy issues.

We have taken a position on seven statewide and one local ballot initiative, which will have profound effects on our democracy:

Statewide Initiatives

Amendment A
Colorado Common Cause Position: Support

What does it do? Amends the constitution to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude.

How does this impact our democracy? Freedom is one of our country’s fundamental values and a pillar of our democracy. This amendment would remove the exceptions clause from Colorado’s state constitution. Exceptions clauses were included after the abolition of slavery to allow states to continue benefiting from the forced labor of people of color. Those people were often former slaves themselves. Today, people of color continue to be over represented in our criminal justice system, and most types of prison labor approximate the conditions of slavery and involuntary servitude. While this amendment is unlikely to have practical impacts on our criminal justice system, it is a critical step towards racial justice and equity in our state.

Amendment V
Colorado Common Cause Position: Support

What does it do? This Amendment changes the age qualifications for a member of the Colorado General Assembly from 25 to 21.

How does this impact our democracy? Colorado is one of only three states – Colorado, Utah, and Arizona – that require all their lawmakers to be at least 25 years old. New Hampshire requires state representatives to be at least 18, and state senators to be at least 30. By lowering the minimum age, our state will increase the number of people who are eligible to run for statewide elected office, and may inspire more people to participate and engage with our statewide civic institutions.

Amendment W
Colorado Common Cause Position – Support

What will it do? Changes the ballot language for judge retention elections so that there are fewer words on the ballot, making the ballot shorter.

How does this impact our democracy? This change is expected to make voters more likely to vote their whole ballot.

Amendments Y & Z
Colorado Common Cause Position: Support

What will it do? Amendments Y and Z change the way we divide our state into political districts. They create independent Congressional (Amendment Y) and legislative (Amendment Z) redistricting commissions, remove the legislature and elected officials from the process, and set criteria for drawing districts. The amendments also require an equal balance of Republicans, Democrats and Unaffiliated members on the commissions, incorporates the Voting Rights Act into state law, and protects communities of interest.

How does this impact our democracy? The redistricting process is critical to fair and accurate representation. Colorado’s redistricting process will be more transparent and less partisan if these amendments pass. The new process will result in districts being drawn by regular people, not politicians or lobbyists. You can read more about our support for Amendments Y and Z on Democracy Wire, the Colorado Common Cause blog.

Amendment 74
Colorado Common Cause Position: Oppose

What will it do? This amendment will expand the definition of a government taking, a situation in which the government takes or damages private property, to include diminution of property value by law or regulation.

How does this impact our democracy? If passed, Amendment 74 would inhibit local and state government from governing themselves and carrying out the will of voters. It would open up all state and local government regulation to legal threat by individuals and corporations who believe they should be making more money from their property, tying the hands of elected leaders trying to pass policies pertaining to zoning, resource allocation, and city planning, among other issues. When Oregon implemented a similar law – which was in place for over a year – nearly $19.7 billion worth of claims were brought against the state.

Amendment 75
Colorado Common Cause Position: Oppose

What will it do? If passed, Amendment 75 will quintuples the current limits for campaign contributions for all candidates anytime a candidate for a statewide office does one of the following: (1) contributes or loans more than one million dollars to their own candidate committee, (2) contributes or loans more than a million dollars to a committee or other entity for the purposes of supporting or opposing any candidate in the same and election, or (3) facilitates or coordinates third party contributions amounting to more than a million dollars to any committee or organization for the purposes of influencing the candidate’s own election.

How does this impact our democracy? The solution to too much money in politics is not more money in politics. Democracy functions best when we all participate and when elected officials are responsive to their constituents. The corrupting influence of money can drown out the voices of everyday people. This amendment will allow wealthy individuals to give up to five times the current contribution limits directly to candidates, increasing the opportunity for quid pro quo corruption and there is no evidence that it will lead to fairer or more competitive elections If passed this amendment could also dilute the influence of people who do not have thousands of dollars to give to gubernatorial candidates and candidates running for other statewide offices. Finally, the measure contains confusing language, which could create problems once it is added to the Colorado Constitution.

For more information about the state-wide ballot initiatives we recommend the following nonpartisan resources:

2018 Blue Book
Count Me In! Colorado
2018 Colorado Ballot Guide from the Bell Policy Center

Denver Initiatives

Amendment 2E
Colorado Common Cause Position: Support

What will it do? Create a new system for citizen-funded elections. First, it would create a 9:1 match program for candidates running for city offices in Denver who agree not to take donations from corporations. It would also lower contribution limits to be more in line with other offices in Colorado.

How does this impact our democracy? Citizen-funded elections help to break down barriers to participating in our democracy, creating a government that looks more like the people it serves. Public matching funds amplify the role of ordinary Denverites in financing elections and lower the barriers to entry for candidates who may not have access to wealthy donors.
Read the full text of the initiative on page 36 of the Denver ballot information booklet and learn more about our work on the initiative on our blog.