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Ballot Guide 2020 –CCDC

INTRODUCTION

People with Disabilities (PWD) are important voters. Our votes help decide vital things like the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act and healthcare, including Medicaid—to name just a few things. In the 2020 election, PWD will be asked to vote on candidates like the President and to decide issues like making sure Colorado has enough money to fund programs like community services. PWD should try to answer all of the questions on their ballot. We hope this guide will help PWD make a plan on how they are going to vote and return their ballot. If you have more questions about voting, visit the Just Vote Colorado website or call their hotline at 1-866-687-8683. Just Vote Colorado is a non-partisan, comprehensive voting resource for all Colorado voters.

This guide is written in plain language, but for the few that want a lot more detail there are links that provide it. This guide covers:

  • Voting rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities;
  • How to help people with disabilities who want or need assistance;
  • Candidates (who is running-we do not endorse or oppose); and
  • Ballot measures.

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES (PWD) SHOULD VOTE!

PWD want to be fully included. Part of how PWD are included is to make their voices heard through voting.

Voting is an important right for every American over the age of 18, and especially for people with disabilities, their families, their friends, and those who make money in the disability industry. When enough people with a specific interest, like disability, vote, it is called a voting bloc. PWD and their family, friends, and those who make money in the disability industry could join together to become a voting bloc.

When the disability community votes as a voting bloc:

  • it tells politicians that our issues like the Americans with Disabilities Act are important;
  • it tells our communities that we are not invisible and we need services funded so that PWD may live independently, work, and get an education;
  • it tells our President and Senate, who appoint and confirm judges to the Supreme Court and all federal courts, that PWD need justice; and
  • on ballot measures it tells our state, counties, and towns that we are important citizens who deserve to have our voices heard.

 

PWD VOTING RIGHTS

In Colorado, PWD can register to vote:

  • online before October 26th (if you want to vote by mail) by going to Secretary of State’s website;
  • by downloading and printing the voter registration application, filling it out and returning it by mail, fax, or email before October 26th (if you want to vote by mail); or
  • by visiting a voter service and polling center in your county between October 26th and Election Day, November 3rd.

In Colorado, people with disabilities can vote:

  • in their homes or communities by filling out the ballot they get in the mail, and then returning it by US mail with 2 stamps or dropping it off at a ballot collection site;
  • by going to a polling place and using a voting machine; or
  • By using an electronic ballot.  This is a new option for people that have trouble with printed materials, including but not limited to blind people.  They can submit an application to do an online ballot, vote online, then print their ballot and mail it using 2 stamps or drop it off at a ballot box.  You can get all of the information you need on how to get through the process at sos.colorado.gov.  If you are struggling with this the Colorado Center for the Blind, CCDC, or Disability Law Colorado can help.

When people with disabilities vote, they:

  • have the right to vote privately and independently, and
  • have the right to an accessible polling place and ballot. They can ask for help from an election judge or someone they choose. They may choose someone from one of these disability organizations around the state, such as the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

Colorado Elections are ACCESSIBLE, SAFE, AND SECURE. However, if you have trouble voting, if someone tries to pressure you about how to vote, or if you see someone pressuring someone else with a disability about how they want to vote, call Disability Law Colorado at 303-722-0300 or toll-free at 1-800-288-1376. Disability Law Colorado can help because they have people trained in disability voting rights. For Relay call 711.

Our Secretary of State has this information answering frequently asked questions about voting rights for people with disabilities.

 

 

HELPING PWD VOTE

Some people reading this guide might be helpers like a family member, staff person, or even an election judge. There are many acceptable ways to help a person with a disability vote.

DO:

  • Ask the PWD what help they want, such as reading the ballot out loud, offering to fill in the ballot, etc.
  • Ask the PWD if they prefer to have an election judge or professional advocate assist them with voting instead of a caregiver.  Let them know either way is perfectly OK.
  • Encourage PWD if they are going to use their mail-in ballot to vote to return it quickly.
  • Assist PWD with getting their ballot properly turned in (dropped off or mailed in plenty of time).
  • Assist PWD with making sure their vote was received by setting up and using Colorado’s ballot tracing system.
  • Assist PWD who are voting for the first-time with registering.
  • Assist PWD with calling Disability Law Colorado or a vote center if they have questions or concerns.
  • Explain in neutral terms, when asked, the meaning of ballot initiatives or voting records of candidates. If the PWD has questions, answer as honestly as possible.

DON’T:

  • Tell PWD how they should vote.
  • Let someone who relies on you for support think your support will lessen if the PWD does not vote the way you are voting.
  • Get impatient with PWD that are having a hard time understanding or asking lots of questions. (It is OK to schedule a time to finish a conversation if you have to do something else and cut the conversation short.)

VOTING AND BALLOTS

If a PWD registered to vote before October 26th, the local county clerk will mail a ballot to their house. If a PWD registered after October 26th, it will be too late to get a ballot mailed and the PWD will need to vote at a Voter Service and Polling Center in their county.

Mail-in ballots should arrive at voters’ homes between October 10-15th (they are mailed on October 9th).

PWD don’t have fill out everything on your ballot to sign and return it. Ballots must be received by November 3, 2020 (ballots postmarked but not received by Nov. 3, 2020, will not count). PWD can return their ballot by:

  • dropping it off at a secure drop box location or Vote Centers located throughout Colorado. Those locations can be found by contacting your county clerk here. If a PWD wants someone to pick up their ballot and turn it in, they can contact either CCDC or a political party. Usually, both the Democrats and Republicans will have people that will pick up ballots.
  • mailing it by at least October 26th using two stamps on the return envelope.

PWD should know that they cannot get COVID from touching a drop box. (Although always wash your hands every time coming home regardless.) It is also very safe to go to a vote center wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

CANDIDATES

President – The United States is electing a President in 2020. All voters will be asked to pick a presidential candidate. The President is very important to PWD by:

  • helping direct policies for the country, including keeping PWD rights protected and helping make sure Medicaid is funded;
  • hiring people to run governmental agencies that help PWD live in the community;
  • appointing judges to the Supreme Court of the United States and other courts who help interpret and enforce our laws to protect PWD;
  • signing or vetoing laws that Congress passes that help PWD get the services they need; and
  • being responsible for handling the ongoing federal response to COVID-19.

The Democratic candidate for president is Joe Biden.

The Republican candidate for president is Donald Trump.

There are third-party candidates, but they have no chance of winning. You can look up other candidates on their websites when you get your ballot.

Senate – Colorado is electing a United States Senator this year. All voters will be asked to pick a senatorial candidate.

Senators are important to PWD because they can create laws and vote on things important to PWD like disability rights and Medicaid funding.

The Republican candidate is Cory Gardner.

The Democratic candidate is John Hickenlooper.

There are third party candidates but they have no chance of winning. You can look up other candidates on their websites when you get your ballot.

House of Representatives – We elect representatives to the House of Representatives every two years. Representatives are important to PWD because they can create laws and vote on things like making sure PWD can live in the community.  Your ballot will include a House of Representative candidate.  Your candidate will be based on where you live. You can find out what congressional district you live in by visiting the U.S. House’s find your representative page and entering your address. Click here for a list of candidates and their websites.

State Legislators – Coloradans are electing state legislators this year. State legislators are important for PWD because the help decide Colorado laws and fund important services. Everyone will have a chance to vote for a state representative. PWD may also be asked to vote on a state senator depending where they live. You can find out what state house and senate district you live in by visiting the Colorado General Assembly’s official find my legislator tool and entering your address.

Judges – In Colorado, people are allowed to vote on whether or not they want to keep their judges. Judges don’t run campaigns like most candidates do. If you want to see how a judge is rated their reviews can be found here. You can also look at your “Blue Book,” which might be easier.

BALLOT MEASURES

A ballot measure is a way for the people in Colorado to make or change law. CCDC takes positions on ballot measures that directly affect the disability community. You can learn more about each measure in your “Blue Book.”

CCDC supports the following measures. If you agree, then you should vote YES on these ballot measures.

Amendment B, Repeal Gallagher AmendmentYES – Voting yes on this amendment may increase property taxes, but Colorado needs that money to help keep community services and other programs important to PWD. If this amendment fails we may see services cut.

Proposition 118, Family and Medical LeaveYES – This will create a state-run program to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for family members who need time off of work to help take care of a family member who is sick or having a baby.  This money will be paid for by employers and employees. This is a disability issue because it will help people with disability-related issues take time off of work.

CCDC opposes the following measures. If you agree, then you should vote NO on these ballot measures.

Amendment 76, Qualification of Citizenship for ElectorsNO – While not a specific disability issue, CCDC opposes anything that has the potential to stop people from voting. This will make it so 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before a general election can no longer vote in the primary election. The state already has a secure election system that ensures only those who meet legal requirements can vote in elections. Click here for more detailed information in opposition to this amendment.

Proposition 116, State Income Tax ReductionNO – CCDC opposes this measure because it could reduce Colorado tax dollars used to support disability programs. Click here for more detailed information in opposition to this proposition from Fair Tax Colorado.

Proposition 117, Voter Approval for Fee-Based EnterpriseNO – CCDC opposes this measure because it could reduce Colorado tax dollars used to support disability programs. Click here for more detailed information in opposition to this proposition.

No Position: CCDC neither supports or opposes the ballot issues and provides the following to help you better understand the questions PWD are asked to decide.

Proposition 115, Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks

CCDC neither supports nor opposes Prop 115 because the disability community has very different opinions on this issue. This proposal would limit the right to get an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy.  We have provided statements from both the YES and the NO campaigns here with links to their website.

If you vote YES: Prop 115 would not allow a woman to have an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy.

If you vote NO: Nothing would change on this issue.

Click here for detailed Pro and Con statements from the campaigns.

Proposition EE, Taxes on Nicotine Products

CCDC neither supports nor opposes Proposition EE. This increases taxes on tobacco and creates a new tax on nicotine (e-cigarettes/vaping). That tax money would be used for preschool and initially some other health initiatives such as anti-vaping education.

If you vote YES: Tobacco products like cigarettes and e-cigarettes will cost more money due to additional tax. That tax money will be used to help people quit tobacco products like cigarettes and provide education in schools to help kids understand why they should not use tobacco.

If you vote NO: Nothing will change on how much tobacco products like cigarettes cost.

Click here for arguments supporting and opposing this proposition.

There are other ballot initiatives that are not disability issues. They are:

  1. Proposition 114, Reintroduce gray wolves into the environment.
  2. Amendment 77, Allow voters in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to vote to expand allowed gaming and bet limits.
  3. Proposition 113, Join Colorado into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact awarding Colorado’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
  4. Amendment C, Require a charitable organization to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license (currently one must exist for 5 years) and allow organizations to hire staff for gaming activities and pay them minimum wage.

There are important local questions as well. Because we are a statewide organization we are not identifying them in this guide, but we do have positions on some of these. Contact Lead Organizer Dawn Howard or Executive Director Julie Reiskin if you have questions on local issues.

 

CLOSING

PWD, our families, friends, and allies are important voters. Our votes help decide vital things like the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act and healthcare, including Medicaid — to name just a few. In the 2020 election PWD will be asked to vote on candidates like the President and to decide issues like making sure Colorado has enough money to fund programs like community services. We should try to answer all of the questions on ballot. We hope this guide will help PWD to make a plan on how they are going to vote and return their ballot. If you have more questions about voting, visit the Just Vote Colorado website or call their hotline at 1-866-687-8683. Just Vote Colorado is a non-partisan comprehensive voting resource for all Colorado voters.   If you experience discrimination based on your disability, please contact Disability Law Colorado at 303-722-0300 or toll-free at 1-800-238-1376.  For Relay call 711.

 

Appendix

 

United States House of Representatives candidates in Colorado

Congressional District One:

Congressional District Two:

Congressional District Three:

Congressional District Four:

Congressional District Five:

Congressional District Six:

Congressional District Seven:

 

CCDC Opposes

Amendment 76, Qualification of Citizenship for Electors

 

Statement from the Campaign for Real Election Protection:

What does initiative 76 do? Specify that “only a citizen of the US who has attained the age of 18” rather than “every citizen of the US who has attained the age of 18” is eligible to vote in Colorado Elections. While changing one word in our constitution may seem harmless, this initiative, run and funded by out of state interests, would take Colorado a step back in voter accessibility and open the door for voter suppression. The state already has a secure election system that ensures only those who meet the legal requirements can vote in elections. Ultimately, the measure seeks to 1) solve a problem that does not exist 2) may result in voter confusion about state and local elections, and 3) could discourage and disenfranchise voters measure has no immediate impact on voting requirements for non-citizens but will, however, remove the ability for 17-year-olds to participate in primary elections should they be 18 by the time of the general election. Vote NO on 76.^

 

Proposition 117, Voter Approval for Fee-Based Enterprise

 

Analysis by the Colorado Fiscal Institute.

The Problem with Proposition 117

 

Proposition 117 would mandate a vote on the creation of new enterprise funds that collect revenues above $100 million over the first five fiscal years. This is a direct assault on Colorado’s ability to provide critical services to its residents.

 

What is an Enterprise Fund?

 

Enterprise funds were created as part of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in 1992. They are defined by a few specific aspects.

 

  • They are government-owned businesses housed in a state agency and run by state employees.
  • They can only receive 10 percent of its funding from government grants, with the vast majority of funding coming from user fees.
  • They have bonding authority, meaning they can take out debt based upon the projected revenue from their user fees, and they cannot levy taxes.
  • They must provide goods and services in exchange for the user fees.
  • Enterprise funds have independent public audits annually to ensure compliance with the above requirements.

An important aspect of enterprise funds is the use of fees, instead of taxes. Taxes are used for general funding that is up to the discretion of lawmakers. Fees are a cost to an individual in exchange for a good or service.

 

Prop 117 is not about fees, however. It is about enterprise funds. Enterprise funds are not subject to our state’s arbitrary revenue cap. Forcing enterprise funds to be subject to the revenue cap will crowd out other important priorities like education, transportation, and health care. For example, the enterprise encompassing student tuition is $11.5 billion, basically the same amount as the entire General Fund. If tuition were subject to the revenue cap, we would not have any money for anything else in Colorado.

 

Voting NO on Proposition 117 is Good for Colorado

  • Colorado already has difficulty providing adequate services to its residents. This proposition seeks to put even more obstacles up to prevent our state from meeting its obligations to the people who live here.
  • Enterprises play a critical role in providing services that have a more direct individual benefit, or to charge industries for pollution or other negative actions.
  • Mandating a vote on enterprise funds only allows more special interest and dark money to flow into our elections to prevent fees from providing services.

 

Proposition 117 is a solution in search of a problem. Without a fair tax system, enterprise funds are a critical part of providing services to Coloradans.

^

CCDC Takes No Position

Proposition 115, Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks

 

Yes on 115, Statement from DueDateTooLate.com

Proposition 115 protects viable human life – after the baby can survive outside the womb, suck her thumb, respond to her mother’s touch and voice, and feel excruciating pain during the abortion procedure. Prop 115 places a reasonable restriction on abortion after 22 weeks while still allowing a pregnant woman several months to make a choice about her pregnancy. Late-term abortions are extreme. Colorado is an outlier in the US and the world by allowing unrestricted late-term abortions. Only 6 other states in the US and 4 other countries (out of 198) in the world permit unrestricted late-term abortions. The notion that a fully alive and fully human late-term baby is killed so violently in Colorado, including for reasons of disability, and is not afforded the same value and dignity that infants enjoy is simply wrong, cruel, and inhumane. Coloradans from every voting block (Democrat, Republican, Independent, and Unaffiliated) find reasonable the 22-week restriction. The measure provides an exception for ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and when necessary to save the life of the mother. Under Prop 115 a woman will not be criminalized or penalized for seeking an abortion. The goal of Proposition 115 is to protect women and their babies, give them better options, and help them in their difficult circumstances. Let’s give every one of our precious babies a chance for life to reach the fullest of their potential.

 

No on 115, Statement from No On 115

Every pregnancy is unique, and pregnant people are experts in their own lives. Like all other health care decisions, decisions around pregnancy should be made by the individual, with support from their family and in consultation with their doctor — without political interference. Proposition 115 is a one-size-fits-all ban on abortion later in pregnancy that includes no exceptions for risks to the pregnant person’s health. It deprives individuals of the self-determination to make personal medical decisions. This intentionally confusing measure is pushed by the same politicians and groups that have tried — and failed — to ban abortion in Colorado more than ten times in the last decade. Prop 115 imposes additional barriers to health care access that disproportionately impact the disability community, LGBTQ+ community, communities of color, and young people. We should focus on enacting laws that support the dignity and reproductive autonomy of all people, including people with disabilities, not putting politics in the middle of important, personal health care decisions. Prop 115 is wrong for Coloradans. Please vote “no” on Proposition 115.

To learn more about Proposition 115 and get involved, please visit voteno115.com.

^

Proposition EE, Taxes on Nicotine Products

PRO: Written by Dr. Kimberley Jackson, CCDC Board Member:

Though not directly a disability issue, the long-term effects of smoking and vaping can certainly lead to an increase in disability. While this issue may disproportionately affect people with some disabilities, such as mental illness (which is linked to higher rates of tobacco use), we know that mental illness can lead to higher rates of addiction, including to tobacco. Continuing to use tobacco decreases the likelihood that treatment of other addiction will be effective, and therefore can increase the prevalence of other addiction. Tobacco use has a cost to society in that it increases the overall rate of many diseases. There is also no known medicinal benefit from tobacco use to society and it doesn’t have any medicinal benefit.

CON: Written by David Henninger, CCDC Board Member:

I am opposed to the nicotine tax increase because even though it may cause some smokers to quit due to expense this is an addiction — the population most impacted are individuals with low incomes and this just creates revenue off the backs of the poor.

^

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

CCDC would like to thank Arc of Aurora and Think+Change for plain language assistance, Northwestern Colorado Center for Independence for ASL translation and Rosario Vega for Spanish translation.

CCDC thanks the ballot guide committee:

  • Hillary Joregensen, Chair
  • Irene Coleman
  • Ian Engle
  • Kenny Maestas
  • Christiano Sosa

ASL Version of the Ballot Guide 2020


 

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Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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