The battle for the ballot (measures) isn’t over yet

The last state campaign finance reports before Election Day show that the fight isn’t over on many of the initiatives that will be decided next week.

One of the biggest donations in the past two weeks came from an out-of-state dark money group, the New York-based Center for Popular Democracy. The group gave $400,000 to Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, which is backing Amendment 70.

The center works on a “pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.” What makes it “dark money?” It doesn’t disclose its donors, so it’s impossible to tell who’s funding the center or the money it sent to Colorado.

Amendment 70 would increase the state’s minimum wage from its current $8.31 per hour to $9.30 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and by 90 cents per year until the minimum wage hits $12.00 on Jan. 1, 2020.

On the flip side, money is starting to go back to donors, too. No on 72, the committee fighting an increased tobacco tax, sent back more than $6 million to its primary donor, Altria, formerly Philip Morris, in the last two-week reporting period that ended October 28. The amendment seeks to increase the state’s sales tax on cigarette and tobacco products from its current 84 cents per pack to $2.59.

The biggest donation in the last reporting period was from Protect Colorado, which is backed largely by the oil and gas industry. The committee plunked down $599,990 to Raise the Bar, which supports Amendment 71. That measure would make it harder for residents and groups to place constitutional amendments on the ballot by requiring petition signatures from all 35 state senate districts and approval from 55 percent of voters.

If you aren’t registered to vote or didn’t get a ballot, it isn’t too late. While the deadline for online voter registration has passed, you can still vote in person at voting service centers. You can also check that link to see if your ballot has been accepted and will be counted on Election Day.