vote mural; photo by jennifer griffin via unsplash

Colorado Ballot Propositions Explained

What Else Is on the Ballot in 2020, Other than the Presidency?

October 26, 2020

The upcoming election—Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020—comes toward the end of a difficult year. Many voters haven’t had time to look beyond the presidential race, although there are some interesting Colorado ballot propositions that could change important aspects of life in the state. With the help of the official 2020 Blue Book, below you will find a quick summary designed to assist Lynx voters in their decision-making.

The Ballot Information Booklet, informally called the Blue Book, is provided by the Colorado General Assembly “to provide voters with the text, title, and a fair and impartial analysis of each initiated or referred constitutional amendment, law, or question on the ballot.” CU Denver, along with Chancellor Marks and the Auraria Campus, want to encourage all students, faculty, staff, and alumni to vote.

Read: “Your Voice, Your Vote

And, for anyone who might feel discouraged from participating in the election due to partisan politics, stress, or other issues, we offer the advice of recently retired professor Rebecca Hunt, PhD, historian and previous director of museum studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:

“The 19th Amendment [which gave women the right to vote] passed by one vote in the House and one in the Senate,” Hunt said. “In Tennessee, it was ratified by one vote, which came from Harry Burn, a young man from the hills of Tennessee whose mom convinced him to vote for it.”

“When my students say one vote doesn’t matter, I lay this out for them.”


Proposition 114: Reintroduction and Management of Gray Wolves

“Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the restoration of gray wolves through their reintroduction on designated lands in Colorado located west of the continental divide, and, in connection therewith, requiring the Colorado parks and wildlife commission, after holding statewide hearings and using scientific data, to implement a plan to restore and manage gray wolves; prohibiting the commission from imposing any land, water, or resource use restrictions on private landowners to further the plan; and requiring the commission to fairly compensate owners for losses of livestock caused by gray wolves?”

What Your Vote Means

“YES: A ‘yes’ vote on Proposition 114 means that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will develop a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves west of the Continental Divide.

NO: A ‘no’ vote on Proposition 114 means that Colorado will not be required to reintroduce gray wolves.”

woman holding baby; photo by dakota corbin via unsplash

Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

“Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the creation of a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, authorizing paid family and medical leave for a covered employee who has a serious health condition, is caring for a new child or for a family member with a serious health condition, or has a need for leave related to a family member’s military deployment or for safe leave; establishing a maximum of 12 weeks of family and medical leave, with an additional 4 weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications, with a cap on the weekly benefit amount; requiring job protection for and prohibiting retaliation against an employee who takes paid family and medical leave; allowing a local government to opt out of the program; permitting employees of such a local government and self-employed individuals to participate in the program; exempting employers who offer an approved private paid family and medical leave plan; to pay for the program, requiring a premium of 0.9% of each employee’s wages, up to a cap, through December 31, 2024, and as set thereafter, up to 1.2% of each employee’s wages, by the director of the division of family and medical leave insurance; authorizing an employer to deduct up to 50% of the premium amount from an employee’s wages and requiring the employer to pay the remainder of the premium, with an exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees; creating the division of family and medical leave insurance as an enterprise within the department of labor and employment to administer the program; and establishing an enforcement and appeals process for retaliation and denied claims?”

What Your Vote Means

“YES: A ‘yes’ vote on Proposition 118 means the state will create an insurance program to provide paid family and medical leave benefits to eligible employees in Colorado funded by premiums paid by employers and employees.

NO: A ‘no’ vote on Proposition 118 means the state will not create a paid family and medical leave insurance program.”

Proposition EE: Taxes on Nicotine Products

“Shall state taxes be increased by $294,000,000 annually by imposing a tax on nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes and other vaping products that is equal to the total state tax on tobacco products when fully phased in, incrementally increasing the tobacco products tax by up to 22% of the manufacturer’s list price, incrementally increasing the cigarette tax by up to 9 cents per cigarette, expanding the existing cigarette and tobacco taxes to apply to sales to consumers from outside of the state, establishing a minimum tax for moist snuff tobacco products, creating an inventory tax that applies for future cigarette tax increases, and initially using the tax revenue primarily for public school funding to help offset revenue that has been lost as a result of the economic impacts related to covid-19 and then for programs that reduce the use of tobacco and nicotine products, enhance the voluntary colorado preschool program and make it widely available for free, and maintain the funding for programs that currently receive revenue from tobacco taxes, with the state keeping and spending all of the new tax revenue as a voter-approved revenue change?”

What Your Vote Means

“YES: A ‘yes’ vote on Proposition EE increases taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, and creates a new tax on nicotine products, including vaping products. The new tax revenue will be spent on education, housing, tobacco prevention, health care, and preschool.

NO: A ‘no’ vote on Proposition EE means taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products will stay the same, and there will be no new taxes on nicotine or vaping products.”

I Voted stickers, courtesy Unsplash

Proposition 113: Adopt Agreement to Elect U.S. President by National Popular Vote

“Shall the following Act of the General Assembly be approved: An Act concerning adoption of an agreement among the states to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote, being Senate Bill No. 19-042?”

What Your Vote Means

“YES: A ‘yes’ vote on Proposition 113 approves a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor joining Colorado with other states as part of an agreement to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote if enough states enter the agreement.

No: A ‘no’ vote on Proposition 113 rejects a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor and retains Colorado’s current system of awarding all of its electors for the President of the United States to the winner of the Colorado popular vote.”

In the News

Since this ballot measure doesn’t provide much context, we did some digging for you. According to a Colorado Public Radio article on the ballot measure, “Backers of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact argue it would ensure that each Americans’ vote carries equal weight in the presidential election and encourage candidates to try to win over support across the country, instead of focusing just on a few battleground states. 

“Opponents say the effect would actually be to encourage presidential candidates to focus on only the country’s largest metropolitan areas, ignoring both rural voters in general, and Colorado as a whole. And they point out it could put Colorado’s electors in the uncomfortable position of casting their ballots for a candidate the majority of Coloradans rejected. Finally, opponents argue close elections could lead to lawsuits and recounts in every state as each candidate tries to uncover or invalidate enough votes to claim victory.”