The Greenpeace Blimp: No on Amendment 71

Colorado Initiative 71 Message

The Greenpeace Thermal Airship A.E. Bates takes to the skies over Colorado on October 20, 2016 urging Coloradans to Vote No Initiative 71, or Raise the Bar, which would place a cumbersome burden on citizens wishing to participate in the ballot initiative process. Raise the bar is largely funded and promoted by the oil and gas industry. Photo by Bob Pearson/Greenpeace

The Greenpeace Thermal Airship A.E. Bates takes to the skies over Colorado on October 20, 2016 urging Coloradans to Vote No on Initiative 71, or Raise the Bar, which would place a cumbersome burden on citizens wishing to participate in the ballot initiative process. Raise the bar is largely funded and promoted by the oil and gas industry. Photo by Bob Pearson/Greenpeace

A press release from Greenpeace USA–look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

Greenpeace flew its thermal airship this morning over the Denver and Boulder area urging Coloradans to vote no on Amendment 71, or “Raise the Bar,” which benefits wealthy interests while shutting those without significant funds out of the ballot initiative process. “Raise the Bar” is largely funded and promoted by the oil and gas industry and is opposed by a broad and unlikely coalition.

The airship messages read “Vote no 71” on one side and “Don’t let BIG $$$ rig our democracy” on the other.

“Big corporations and industries hungry for more political power are trying to rig our democracy. If Amendment 71 passes, it will become much more difficult for everyday Coloradans to put forward ballot initiatives on everything from education to healthcare to protecting the natural beauty of our state,” said Diana Best, a Denver-based Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace USA’s Climate and Energy team. “The oil and gas industry and other wealthy interests, who are bankrolling Amendment 71, are hoping to take people’s voices out of our democracy, but Coloradans won’t easily be silenced.”

Amendment 71 would change the way Colorado’s ballot process has functioned for the last 100 years, requiring 2 percent approval in each of the 35 state Senate districts for an initiative to qualify for the ballot, and raising the minimum voter approval to 55 percent of votes cast. The Denver Post, which has come out in opposition to 71, estimates that it takes about $1 million for an initiative to make it on the Colorado ballot. Raise the Bar would increase that amount significantly, creating a barrier to entry that keeps most Coloradans shut out of the process.

“Colorado voters have seen how big money can drown out of the voices of the people in the political process. When that happens, the ballot initiative process is an opportunity for the people to address important issues. We should be making it easier for people to have their voices heard, not putting the constitution off limits to all but the wealthiest special interests,” said Common Cause Colorado Executive Director Elena Nunez.

Amendment 71 was written by Vital for Colorado, a front group for the oil and gas industry with ties to the billionaire Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Noble Energy, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

The No on Amendment 71 coalition is indeed one of the broader and more “unlikely” coalitions, with groups from left to right banding together to protect citizen participation in lawmaking via the initiative process:

noon71

If anybody gets a picture of the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara in the Greenpeace blimp, please forward. We want that photo for posterity.

Remember, Ix-Nay on the Allot-Bay Elfie-Say!

This is a crime in Colorado.

This is a crime in Colorado.

Denver DA Mitch Morrissey’s press release today might come as a surprise to voters across Colorado eagerly snapping photos of their completed ballot for this or that candidate, and posting them on social media for posterity:

REMINDER: BALLOT SELFIES ARE ILLEGAL IN COLORADO

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is reminding voters that there is a state law prohibiting voters from showing their completed ballot to others. This would include posting your completed ballot on social media.

Colorado is one of many states that ban a ballot selfie. The law, found at §1-13-712 in the Colorado Revised Statutes, states that, “No voter shall show his ballot after it is prepared for voting to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents.” It is a misdemeanor violation.

The prohibition on sharing completed ballot results is an effort to guard against potential voter fraud.

The thinking behind making it a crime to show your completed ballot to another person is to prevent voters from selling their votes in any verifiable way. If you can’t legally show someone your completed “secret” ballot, you can’t prove beyond a doubt how you voted. That’s the theory, anyway, though there’s a good argument that this prohibition is a little anachronistic in the age of mail ballots and smartphones.

What say you, Polsters? Have you already broken this law without knowing? Would you like to show your completed ballot to the world for purely honorable reasons? Are you one of these mythical bad guys looking to buy some photo-verified votes?

Actually, on the latter maybe don’t tell us–click here and tell the proper authorities instead.

Got Ballot?

votebuttonColorado is an all-mail ballot state this election cycle. Ballots began going out in the mail on Monday, so many of you might be able to vote as soon as today.

Have you received your ballot yet? Please let us know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to include your city or county of residence.

We’re curious to see when and where ballots are starting to arrive, and we know Colorado Pols readers are certainly paying attention.

2016’s Most Knowingly False Accusation Takes Nasty Racist Turn

We’ve talked a number of times about a specific line of attack targeting Democratic SD-19 candidate Rachel Zenzinger, falsely alleging that Zenzinger had “voted to use taxpayer money on a trip to China” while serving as an Arvada city councillor. As Politifact Colorado and every other objective look at this accusation has found, it’s completely false: not only did Zenzinger never visit China, she introduced the motion barring the use of taxpayer dollars on any such trip.

The “China Girl” attack on Zenzinger was thoroughly debunked by in 2014 when it was originally used, which made its recycling in 2016 much more arguably a case of making a knowingly false statement in a political ad–a crime under Colorado law.

Regardless, this week the organization responsible for the ad ruled “Pants on Fire” by Politifact Colorado, Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government,  sent another mail piece to SD-19 voters making the same false charge:

chinagirl3

Now, the first problem with this mail piece is the eye-poppingly racist Photoshopping of a traditional Vietnamese straw hat, known as a non la, onto Rachel Zenzinger’s head. We shouldn’t even have to point out that this ad is about an alleged trip to China, which is not Vietnam, and they in fact wear different straw hats in China.

We assume nobody at Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government could, you know, tell the difference.

But as bad as the racism in this latest mail piece is, that may not even be the worst part. Looking closely at this ad, you can see they quote the Mayor of Arvada, Marc Williams. The citation for that quote on this mailer is “Channel 7 News, Denver, 7/5/16.”

Understand this, folks: that’s Politifact Colorado’s fact-check! The one that ruled this claim “Pants on Fire” false! The mailer conveniently omits the rest of Williams’ statement in that story:

[Williams] stressed that she also made the subsequent successful motion “with the explicit direction that no city funds be used.” [Pols emphasis]

This mail piece was produced after Politifact Colorado’s July 5th fact-check of CCAG’s previous mailer on the same subject. That means that Sen. Laura Woods’ allies at CCAG read that fact-check, disregarded its conclusion, and used a hacked-up quote for it to further mislead voters about the same completely debunked charge.

The only reasonable conclusion with all these facts in mind is that CCAG knows they are lying, and are overtly contemptuous of the media’s ability to correct the record. They have concluded that more voters will see their false accusation than will ever see the debunking, and they simply have no sense of accountability to anyone. We can’t imagine what Alan Gathright and the folks at Politifact will say about being given this brazen middle finger by a major Republican 527, but that’s obviously what they’re doing.

If that is not outrageous to every voter on an objective level, we don’t know what is. And if there was ever a case ripe for prosecution under Colorado’s much-debated law against knowingly lying in our elections, this has to be it.

Dead Voters? Oh My! Oh, Wait.

Young-voter-via-ShutterstockLate last month, CBS4 Denver’s Brian Maass ran a story that’s been stirring a great deal of alarm among the right wing’s perennial “vote fraud” conspiracy theorists–a report that identified a handful of cases, in which voters in Colorado who were deceased had votes cast in their name:

A CBS4 investigation has found multiple cases of dead men and women voting in Colorado months and in some cases years after their deaths, a revelation that calls into question safeguards designed to prevent such occurrences…

The cases of dead men and women casting ballots ranged from El Paso County in southern Colorado to Denver and Jefferson County. CBS4 discovered the fraudulent voting by comparing databases of voting histories in Colorado against a federal death database.

The CBS4 investigation has triggered criminal investigations in El Paso and Jefferson counties along with a broad investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

“It’s not a perfect system. There are some gaps,” acknowledged Williams.

The story’s lede used the word “multiple” to describe the number of cases of dead voters casting ballots, though the original story described four such cases–and none newer than 2013. One of those cases was later explained by a clerical error. Last night, a followup report from Maass announced with great fanfare the discovery of one additional case:

An ongoing CBS4 Investigation into dead voters in Colorado has turned up another dead voter — this time in Larimer County.

“I don’t think it was an accident,” said Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers, who acknowledged she found the most recent dead voter after the initial CBS4 Investigation entitled “Dying To Vote,” which aired last month. That initial investigation found a handful of votes cast in the names of dead Coloradans months, and sometimes years, after they died.

Myers said following that report, the Secretary of State sent her a list of deceased voters to double check.

“We did find a single deceased voter,” she said, “and unfortunately it was counted.”

That brings the total number of “dead voters” discovered in Colorado to either four or five depending on whether you count the original report that turned out to be incorrect. That means several weeks of heightened scrutiny of voter registrations after the first CBS4 report resulted in only one additional case of a dead person “voting.”

On October 1st, Colorado had 3,756,564 registered voters.

To be sure, there is no responsible argument that these four or five cases of probable vote fraud should be ignored–not even literal one-in-a-million cases as these appear to be. Vote fraud is a crime, and especially in a mail ballot election system like Colorado’s it’s important  that any violators be swiftly prosecuted to the limit of the law. That is being done right now with these cases, as clerks work through the information they’ve been given and refer findings to prosecutors.

But never mind all that boring factual stuff, folks! The conservative media has its own version:

votefraudheadlines

Brian Maass and CBS4 deserve some criticism for the ridiculous hyperbole flooding the conservative media today based on his report of four or five “dead voters” among nearly four million registered voters in Colorado. Maass’ reporting intentionally downplayed the actual number of cases, using words like “multiple” when “several” or even the correct single-digit number would have been more accurate–if less sensational. But the bigger problem is with the conservative media outlets completely untethered by a need for accuracy who distorted Maass’ report into something vastly worse than the facts support.

Williams said measures implemented in 2015 should reduce the number of dead voters casting ballots in Colorado, [Pols emphasis] but he noted that the CBS4 investigation indicates further measures might be necessary.

Yes, any improperly cast vote is a problem. But as you can see from the actual numbers described here, a draconian solution like what the right wing desires to “combat vote fraud” would disenfranchise far more perfectly legitimate voters than the totality of this problem. That’s a great approach if your goal is to reduce the number of people who vote, but not so much for ensuring fair and accessible elections.

The moral of the story? Don’t believe the hype. Or the hyping of the hype.

Radio host shows Gardner’s vote for Pence won’t count, but fails to find out if Gardner will still vote for Pence

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sorry, you can't just vote for the veep for President.

Sorry, you can’t just vote for the veep for President.

“Unhappy with Trump? Want to Write In Pence? It Doesn’t Work That Way.”

That’s the title of a story by Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner, who did a nice job fact checking U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner Monday, reporting that if Gardner writes in the name of Mike Pence as his pick for president, as he promised Sunday, his presidential vote won’t be counted at all.

Warner interiewed Suzanne Staiert, Colorado’s deputy Secretary of State, who said on air that as long as Trump is on the ballot, Gardner’s vote for Pence wouldn’t matter.

Warner : And if someone says they’re going to write-in Mike Pence?

Stairt: “They won’t be counted. It’ll just count as an undervote essentially unless the Republican Party makes some sort of change.”

During the interview, Staiert said “a write-in candidate would need to file an affidavit 15 days before the election for votes to count.”

But the CPR piece was later corrected to state, “In fact, the affidavit would have to have been filed at least 110 days before the election.”

So Gardner has settled on Pence waaaay too late. Or maybe not. Maybe he wants to cast a vote that won’t count?

Omitted from the CPR piece was the question on many listener’s minds: “So who is Gardner going to vote for?”

Warner should bring Gardner on the show to address that question.

Melissa’s Story

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado Education, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, scored a viral hit with a new video ad highlighting the story of a Colorado single mom who “can’t survive on $8.31 an hour.” The video has been viewed over 60,000 times in less than 48 hours on social media.

“Everyone in Colorado needs to hear Melissa’s story,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “But the truth is that thousands of Colorado families deserve better for the hard work they do every day. They deserve to be able to feed their family and pay their bills. No one who works hard in Colorado should live in poverty. We need a wage in Colorado that Melissa can count on to feed and shelter her children.”

“Hard-working Coloradans earning minimum wage are not just kids working summer jobs, they are real people trying to support real families,” said Silverii. “Colorado has acted to raise the minimum wage before, but it hasn’t kept pace with increases in the cost of living. We know that low-wage workers who get a raise plow that money right back into the economy, which benefits us all. But most importantly, families are better able to afford the necessities of life they work so hard to provide.”

“Telling the stories of families like Melissa’s will help Coloradans understand that the talking points pushed by pundits and the special interests who want to keep wages low hurt real people who work hard every day,” said Silverii. “Colorado can’t get by on $8.31 an hour.”

Amendment 71 is a power grab by special interests

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Jared Polis.

Rep. Jared Polis.

I am voting no on Amendment 71, otherwise known as “Raise the Bar,” a question that will be on your Colorado ballot that you will receive later this month. While Amendment 71 is being sold as a common sense reform package to the ballot initiative process, in reality, it’s nothing less than a power grab by the political and corporate elites and almost entirely funded by the oil and gas industry.

Amendment 71 would erode Coloradans’ right to petition their government for change, as well as reduce access to direct democracy through the ballot initiative process.

While there is a need for ballot reform in Colorado, there are plenty of reasonable approaches to do so without stripping away the rights of everyday Coloradans. Amendment 71 is not the solution.

Look no further than the powerful special interests that are funding this campaign to understand what this is all about: money and power. Nearly 75 percent of the money funding the pro-Amendment 71 effort, over three million dollars, comes from the oil and gas industry. Amendment 71 would not only make it much harder to bring forward initiatives to regulate drilling and fracking, it would also detrimentally impact nearly all the issues that we progressives care about.

For example, I was proud to help put forth Amendment 41 in 2006, a successful ballot initiative that banned lobbyists from giving gifts to lawmakers and established an independent ethics commission to protect the public interest from political corruption. Under the changes proposed in Amendment 71, our effort to protect the public interest from corruption would not have been successful.

Amendment 23 in 2000, which I helped bring forward to better fund schools, would also not have become law.

Amendment 71 changes the signature requirements for initiatives so that one State Senate District can veto the rest of the state’s wishes. It’s not hard to imagine how this will play out in future elections: Imagine, a group of civic leaders, teachers, parents and grassroots organizers come together to finally reform TABOR and provide adequate funding for Colorado schools. Now imagine the Koch brother’s vast network swoops in with a well-funded “decline to sign” campaign in just one State Senate District, say in El Paso county or Eastern Colorado, that prevents the grassroots effort from ever getting the signatures now needed under Amendment 71 to access that ballot. Teachers, students, and parents would lose, and dark-money Princes David and Charles Koch would win. This is unacceptable.

Let’s be clear, Amendment 71 dictates who is allowed to change the state constitution and who is not. Amendment 71 ensures that only corporations and the ultra wealthy will have the ability change the laws, and it shuts the door on citizens and grassroots movements from doing the same. In an era where we already have a dangerous level of concentrated power with the elites and special interests, Amendment 71 would be the nail in the coffin for grassroots social change in Colorado through initiatives.

I encourage you to join Colorado educators, Common Cause, and me in opposing dangerous Amendment 71 and spreading the word to your friends and neighbors.

Malkin Repeats Gessler’s Debunked Claim of 5,000 Illegal Voters

(So much BS, so little time – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Michelle Malkin (center).

Michelle Malkin (center).

In a column that’s running across the country, syndicated writer Michelle Malkin incorrectly writes:

Former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler identified nearly 5,000 noncitizens in Colorado who voted in the 2010 general election. Gessler’s office uncovered upwards of 12,000 noncitizens registered to vote. Liberal groups who oppose stronger election system protections attacked him for trying to verify citizenship status — because God forbid public officials sworn to uphold the rule of law actually do anything to enhance the integrity of our election system!

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby showed in 2013, Gessler did not identify 5,000 noncitizens who’d voted:

But since making those claims, Gessler’s office said it has been able to identify only 80 non-citizens statewide who were on the voter rolls over the past nine elections, representing 0.0008 percent of the more than 10 million ballots that have been cast in those general elections, and those ballots don’t include primary races or local elections that were held during that time.

After years of critics demanding that Gessler forward names of suspected non-citizens whom he said were on the voter rolls, his office referred a list of 155 suspected non-
citizen voters in July to 15 district attorneys across the state, recommending prosecution and issuing a strongly worded statement saying the list was proof the state’s election system is “vulnerable.”

A check by The Daily Sentinel with those district attorneys over the past two weeks, however, revealed that none of the referrals led to criminal prosecutions, though some still are under investigation. The analysis also showed that although some of the non-citizen voters did cast ballots in at least one election going as far back as 2004, the preponderance of the other voters actually were citizens who legally had the right to vote.

Yet, despite Ashby’s readily-available piece, Malkin has written a column that’s basically premised on the 5,000-voting-noncitizens falsehood.

If I were Malkin’s editors at Creators Syndicate, I’d pull the piece. It can’t really be corrected adequately.

ProgressNow Colorado Board Votes To Oppose Amendment 71

After studying the details of Amendment 71, the “Raise the Bar” statewide ballot measure that would make constitutional amendment ballot initiatives substantially harder to qualify, the ProgressNow Colorado Board of Directors has voted to oppose the measure. ProgressNow Colorado’s opposition to Amendment 71 comes after numerous nonpartisan public policy groups have announced their opposition in recent days.

“Having struggled with the consequences of the misguided 1992 TABOR Amendment for decades, we share the frustration of those who say our state’s constitution is too easy to change,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Unfortunately, Amendment 71 goes too far to restrict the basic rights of Coloradans to enact, modify and repeal laws through statewide ballot measures. The goal may be worthy, but the measure as written is simply overkill.”

“Having worked in the Colorado legislature for years, I know firsthand that referred measures from the legislature to voters solve problems–sometimes urgent problems,” said Silverii. “Holding referred measures to the higher ‘majority-plus’ bar Amendment 71 demands for citizen-initiated measures creates yet another impediment to our lawmakers doing their jobs.”

“Above all, making it harder to qualify measures for the Colorado ballot without effective campaign finance reform will not reduce the attempts by special interests to modify the constitution,” said Silverii. “All it does is raise the price tag to qualify, ensuring that only the wealthy and well-connected can afford to participate in the initiative process, rigging the system for big special interests and against ordinary Coloradans.”

“We may agree there’s a problem with irresponsible permanent changes to Colorado’s constitution,” said Silverii, “but Amendment 71 is not the solution.”

CMU/PBS in Colorado: Clinton 44%, Trump 35%

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, a new poll from Colorado Mesa University and Rocky Mountain PBS today resets the presidential race in Colorado to where it was before a recent “surge” for Republican Donald Trump in a spate of early September polls–a solid lead in our state for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, leads her Republican rival, Donald Trump, by 9 percentage points in Colorado, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The poll of 540 registered Colorado voters, the first ever done by Colorado Mesa University, with Rocky Mountain PBS, also showed that Trump’s unfavorability rating of 38 percent among Colorado voters is nearly as high as Clinton’s favorability rating of 40 percent…

For the presidential race, the poll shows that Clinton holds a four-point advantage over Trump with male voters and a nine percentage-point lead with females. While the number of Democrats who favor Clinton and Republicans Trump were about the same, with about three-quarters of them favoring their party’s candidate, the split among unaffiliated voters went strongly for Clinton.

Here’s the details from CMU’s website.

In the U.S. Senate race, today’s poll shows the same double-digit lead for incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet over GOP challenger Darryl Glenn that most other polls have indicated, even while Clinton’s advantage over Trump narrowed. Turning to statewide ballot measures, the poll shows the end-of-life options proposal up by a whopping 70%, and the minimum wage increase polling at a respectable 58%. The “Raise The Bar” measure to make ballot measures harder to qualify is up by only 52%, which is troubling for its supporters given the natural tendency for ballot measures to slip in support as Election Day approaches. The “ColoradoCare” Amendment 69 measure is down heavily in this poll with 56% opposed and only 30% in favor.

Whatever caused the temporary dip in Clinton’s polling numbers in the last few week, which was undeniable being replicated in many polls here and in other battleground states, here we have evidence–in need of corroboration like any poll–that the overall trajectory of that race hasn’t really changed much.

With October almost upon us, that’s welcome news for Team Blue.

Texas Oil Industry Fights Self-Governance In Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The headline in the Denver Business Journal almost tells the story:

Colorado oil and gas industry backs tighter rules on changing constitution

But it misses the opportunity to take a deeper dive into which companies, and where they operate from, are working to “Raise the Bar” in Colorado via Amendment 71.

For that we can go to TRACER–Colorado’s campaign finance tracker, to see that the major contributor is the questionably named “Protect Colorado” (registered with the Secretary of State as Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence) set up by former Denver Post journalist Karen Crummy. 

Wow, a cool million from this innocuous-sounding group in just the last filing.

Hmmm. It seems a curious journalist might want to poke around a little more, rather than just quote Greg Brophy, as the DBJ article does:

“We’ve received funding from a whole bunch of businesses and trade groups, all of whom in the past have been subject to constitutional amendment proposals and have had to fund the defense against all these constitutional amendments,” said former state Sen. Greg Brophy, a co-chairman of the Raise the Bar campaign. 

That’s true, contributions have come from numerous special interest groups, but the majority of dollars comes from oil and gas companies, a large number of whom are not based in Colorado at all. 

Rather they are headquartered in Texas. For instance Pioneer Natural Resources of Irving Texas put in $100,000 according to company disclosures. Noble Energy (Houston Texas) has put up quite a bit of financial backing for the dubiously named “Protect Colorado.”  And Anadarko (The Woodlands Texas) has contributed millions of dollars to make it more difficult for Colorado citizens to self govern. 

It may indeed be that Colorado’s Constitution is too readily amended. However the root of that issue may not be ballot rules, but rather that the deck is stacked, it seems to many, against local communities.

The cause may be that the State Legislature and “Blue Ribbon Task Forces” fail to address a clear and present need to make sure that oil and gas operations don’t unduly impact or harm local residents.

If that is the case then “Rigging the Bar” may seem a useful tactic to the out-of-state interests that want Colorado citizens to sit down and shut up. But over time it could very likely prove to be be a losing strategy.

New Era Colorado: Young Voters To The Rescue


Student organizing group New Era Colorado is out with a new video today that’s quickly going viral with tens of thousands of views in just a few hours–the launch of their This is Why We Vote campaign to mobilize young voters for the upcoming elections:

Faced with an election which is anything but usual, New Era Colorado has launched an innovative campaign encouraging young voters to show up in large numbers this November. The campaign, This is Why We Vote, focuses on a Colorado-centered video, which puts issues firmly at the center of why young people will make their voices heard this election.

“This election shouldn’t be about a candidate’s recent gaffe; it should be about our future,” says New Era Colorado Executive Director, Lizzy Stephan. “There are some very serious issues at stake in this election, like whether we’re going to seize our last opportunity to address climate change or the fate of millions of hardworking undocumented immigrant families who don’t know what the future holds. This is what our generation cares about—this is why we vote.”

The video, which can be viewed at ThisIsWhyWeVote.org, is centered around a poem read by Toluwanimi Obiwole, a prominent spoken word artist in Colorado and Denver’s first Youth Poet Laureate. Toluwa, a previous intern at New Era Colorado, was born in Nigeria, raised in Colorado, and is currently pursuing an ethnic studies degree at the University of Colorado…

Research shows that young people are less likely to vote out of party loyalty or the appeal of a candidate, but instead vote in order to create change on the issues they care about. A line in the video “we know that protest can coexist with process” is a nod to the theme of the millennial generation generally endorsing acts of both civil disobedience as well as political participation.

Young “millennial” voters are emerging as a potentially decisive bloc in this year’s presidential elections. Despite attempts to inject a sense of “weakness” for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump in the conventional wisdom, polls focused on younger voters show Trump very weak with them.

With Trump seemingly no more able to win over young voters than any other demographic besides old white guys, the focus for GOTV messages to these voters must be one of values overcoming a natural tendency toward complacency. Cynicism among young voters in this crazy, ugly election is probably the biggest obstacle to getting them to make the effort.

We like this video for placing its message about the noise–and talking about the values that motivate us to participate in political team sports to begin with.

Oops! J. Paul Brown Trips on 527’s Yard Sign

GOP Rep. J. Paul Brown, running for re-election in Southwest Colorado’s HD-59, was delighted last month to see one of “our” yard signs on display in the district:

brownmessage

The problem with Brown referring possessively to this sign as his own are the words you can barely make out in the lower right of this photo–where the sign says it is “not authorized by any candidate or any candidate campaign.” You see, this sign isn’t from J. Paul Brown’s campaign at all! It was paid for by a 527/IE organization registered in Brighton called Restore Colorado Business. And even in today’s Citizens United free-for-all world, keeping 527s separate from actual campaigns is important. As in, you know, legally important.

We’d hate to think that Brown recognized this sign because he was illegally coordinating with an “independent” 527. On the other hand, there are no laws against stupid.

Coffman still supports dropping bilingual ballot requirement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmansmileIt’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.

So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.

One item deserves clarification.

FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:

This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.

As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.

Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.

Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.

Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But the Voting Rights Act? Coffman doesn’t think we need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.