Big Wins for Democracy in Colorado 2018 Election

DENVER–Coloradans across the state voiced their support for a strong democracy on Election Day 2018. Voters overwhelmingly passed statewide initiatives to reform our redistricting process while soundly defeating two amendments that would have severely impacted the ability of local and state government to serve the will of the people.

Amendments Y and Z will significantly improve the process for drawing political districts in Colorado. Elected officials and political party leaders will no longer control the redistricting process in the state. Instead, independent redistricting commissions made up of average Coloradans will be tasked with drawing political lines. This will ensure a less partisan and more equitable system – and will be more transparent to the public.

“No liberty is more fundamental than our right to choose the people who represent us,” said Amanda Gonzalez, Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause. “This election, Coloradans overwhelmingly supported the idea that politicians should not be allowed to create districts that protect incumbents – or are stacked in favor of one political party. Thanks to the passage of Amendments Y and Z, Colorado will have an independent redistricting commission to represent the interests of everyday Coloradans.”

The defeat of Amendments 74 and 75 signified a major win for average Coloradans over special interests. Amendment 74 would have put local governments at significant risk of being sued for monetary losses stemming from zoning, resource allocation, and city planning – thus preventing elected leaders from serving their constituents. Amendment 75 would have significantly weakened Colorado’s campaign finance laws, further drowning out the voices of average Coloradans.

There were also big wins at the local level, including the passage of Denver Referred Measure 2E. Denver’s new “fair elections fund” will help average Coloradans run for local office, while amplifying the power that Denver citizens have in local elections. Similar public matching programs around the country have made it possible for more women, people of color, and those of modest means to run and get elected to public office.

“Citizen-funded elections help to increase participation in our democracy,” said Amanda Gonzalez, Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause. “Denver voters took a huge step forward in helping to create a city government that looks more like us and works better for all residents of the city and county of Denver.”