Take a sneak peek at your November ballot

Take a sneak peek at your November ballot

Ballots for the November 3 coordinated election will arrive in Coloradans’ mailboxes in just over a week. But if you can’t bear to wait that long and need to get your hands on it sooner, the Secretary of State’s office has just the tool for you.

Coloradans can now take a sneak peek at their ballots by going to GoVoteColorado.com. Here’s how.

To do this, your voter registration must be current. If it’s not, that’s OK — you’ve still got time and it’s super easy to do online.

To register, update your address or party affiliation at GoVoteColorado.com. (If you’ve moved since you last registered, you need to update your address because the post office will not forward your ballot. And if you want to participate in this year’s caucus — held on the first Tuesday in March — you need to be affiliated with a party.)

Once you’re at the website, ask yourself: “Do I have a Colorado driver’s license or state issued ID?”

If the answer is yes, click “register online,” and if the answer is no, click “complete the paper registration form.”

You can send the form to your county clerk and recorder or directly to Colorado Department of State Elections Division, 1700 Broadway, Suite 200, Denver, CO, 80290.

Once you’re registered, you can check out your ballot. At GoVoteColorado.com, click “Find my registration” under the heading “Manage my registration.” Tell the system your name, zip code and birthday, and your voter information will pop up.

Click “view my sample ballot.” Lo and behold, there it is!

Screenshot from 2015-10-06 15:28:04

You will see candidates listed first. Depending on where you live, there will be candidates for municipal elections and/or school board elections. Then you’ll see the only statewide ballot question: Proposition BB.

A “yes” vote on Proposition BB is a vote in favor of letting the state keep $66.1 million in tax revenue it’s already raised. If the measure passes, $40 million will go toward school construction (as per Amendment 64 which legalized retail marijuana back in 2012) and $12 million will be divvied up between marijuana-education campaigns, school grants for bullying and drop-out prevention programs, youth-mentoring services, poison-control centers, local-government-marijuana-impact grants, substance-abuse treatment, farming, state-fair funding, and DUI enforcement training for peace officers.

The remainder of the $66.1 million has yet to be allocated.

If Prop BB fails, that money will be refunded to taxpayers. $25 million will get parceled out to anyone who filed a 2015 tax return in Colorado. $24 million will be refunded to recreational marijuana growers and retailers, and $17 million will go back to marijuana consumers in the form of a temporary reduction in sales tax.

Colorado’s 2015 Blue Book has all the information you need to know about the measure’s fiscal impact, as well as arguments for and against its passage.

Then you’ll see local ballot issues which vary depending on your zip code.

For example, Denverites will be asked about amending an intergovernmental agreement with Adams County to allow for more commercial development around DIA, raising the sales tax to pay for college scholarships, letting Denver City and County keep retail marijuana revenue and letting the city and county take on debt to finance the National Western Center and Colorado Convention Center.

Every Colorado voter will get a ballot in the mail in around a week. And once you’ve marked and sealed it, you’ve got options for how to cast it. The easiest way is to stick it right back in the mail, addressed to your county clerk. If you’re not sure it will get there by 7:00pm on November 3, drop it off in person.

The Secretary of State put together this list of voter service and polling centers that can take your ballot. If you registered less than eight days before the election, you won’t get a ballot in the mail and will need to visit one of these centers to cast your vote in person. And if you’re an epic procrastinator and don’t bother to register, you can still do so the day of.

So there really aren’t many excuses left for not voting this election – unless you reject electoral politics on principle.

Newly anointed communications director at the Secretary of State’s office Lynn Bartels was impressed by how easy it is.

“When Wayne [Williams] went around to the TV stations on National Voter Registration day, he asked, ‘OK, who moved recently?’ All these employees took out their smartphones and their driver’s licenses and they updated their registration right then and there.”

Bartels is not very tech savvy by her own admission, but writing the Secretary of State’s press release on how to check your sample ballot was surprisingly simple for her.

“Look, if I can do this, anyone can.”

Photo by Erik Hersman, Creative Commons, via Flickr

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About the Author

Nat Stein

Nat Stein is a Denver-based reporter. Check out her other work at Cipher magazine, KRCC public radio, Jacobin magazine and In These Times.

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