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:
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:
PWD VOTING RIGHTS
In Colorado, PWD can register to vote:
In Colorado, people with disabilities can vote:
When people with disabilities vote, they:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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 Amendment – YES – 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 Leave – YES – 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 Electors – NO – 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 Reduction – NO – 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 Enterprise – NO – 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
CCDC thanks the ballot guide committee: