VIDEO: Wanna know what’s *really* scary? Trying to read this Colorado ballot.
This election season has been stressful for a lot of voters. First you have to pick from two unpopular candidates, unless you’re voting Green or Libertarian. Then there the judges whose names you’ve probably never heard of (we’re helping you with that). Then you need to figure out whether to go to a polling place or a drop-off location or mail it in, and, the latter, how long you can wait before getting it in the mail. (Got you covered there, too.)
And then there is the ballot. As in, who writes these measures.
The answer, as you might have guessed, is lawyers. In Colorado, attorneys follow a certain style for ballot writing, and that is “the shorter the bill can be drafted, the better”, according to the Colorado Legislative Drafting Manual. Each ballot measure is a yes-or-no question, starting with “Shall there be” and ending with a question mark. And each must contain all the changes to the existing law, often written as clauses. Which makes for long, clause-laden sentences.
The goal for such legislative writing style is to be “understandable to the average reader,” according to the Initiative Drafting Guide and Style Sheet. Yeah.
Here, a few average readers take on the 244-word, semicolon-peppered, clause-weighted Amendment 69, also known as Colorado Care.
Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.
News Literacy Project event: Concerned about online misinformation? The lack of news literacy? You can make a difference by participating in this free workshop! After […]Read More
The Home Front: In Colorado, woman jailed for charging a phone. Critics say police ‘penalize the homeless’
“Gaya Jenkins missed her bus. She was headed to Denver, to receive treatment for cancer, but now she would have to catch a later ride,” […]Read More