DenUM is proud to partner with the Colorado Participation Project to promote the importance of voting to our clients and community this election season. One way that we do this is by raising awareness of the state and Denver County ballot initiatives. It is very easy to forget that there will be more on the ballot this November than the presidential nominees, but there are also important state and local propositions and amendments!
To ensure that DenUM clients and community members have information about these vital topics on the ballot, we created a 2016 Colorado Ballot Guide. We made sure to make the language on this ballot guide is as accessible as possible since the other available materials that describe what is on the ballot can often be hard to understand and complex. Having accessible language also ensures that no matter the clients’ educational attainment or circumstance, they can still understand the important issues presented. On this ballot guide, there is a section for each ballot initiative that explains what the initiative would do, what people who support the initiative are saying and what people who are opposing the initiative are saying. Including the opinions of both the proponents and opponents of an initiative ensures that our clients are receiving nonpartisan information to help them make their choice of how to vote.
We also noted which ballot initiatives we are endorsing this year. We decided which ballot initiatives to support based on the guiding principles of our advocacy statement:
DenUM fosters family stability, increases self-sufficiency and supports community sustainability through non-partisan advocacy efforts. All advocacy efforts are guided by our primary goal of reducing poverty for all Coloradoans. Our 5 focus areas are economic self-sufficiency; accessible, safe and affordable housing; hunger and food insecurity; mass incarceration and criminal justice; and education.
Based on the principles of our above advocacy statement, we have endorsed three state amendments this year and two Denver County ballot initiatives. They include:
- Amendment 70, which would raise the minimum wage in Colorado from $8.31 to $12.00 an hour gradually by 2020. We endorse this amendment because it aligns with our goal of reducing poverty and our economic self-sufficiency priority.
- Proposition 107, which would replace the current caucus system with a primary system for the presidential elections. We endorse this proposition because it aligns with our value of promoting self-sufficiency. Presidential caucus systems also are an inaccessible way to vote for many people, and we support the most equitable means to vote possible.
- Amendment T, which would remove language from the state constitution that currently allows slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as a punishment for being convicted of a crime. We endorse this amendment because it aligns with our mass incarceration and criminal justice priorities.
- Denver 2A Preschool Program Referred Question, which would allow all 2015 profits received from the 0.3% sales and use tax rate increase to be used in support of the Denver Preschool Program. This initiative would also continue the tax collection until 2026. We endorsed this question two years ago and continue to believe in the value of early childhood education. This initiative aligns with our education priority.
- Denver 3A Public Schools Mill Levy Override Ballot Issue, which would increase taxes towards the Denver Public Schools by $56.6 million in 2016 and in 2017. We endorse this initiative because it also aligns with our education priority.
We will continue to encourage our clients and community members to vote all the way down the ballot until Election Day. We will distribute the Colorado Ballot Guide and continue to promote voter pledge cards. If you would like to see our 2016 Colorado Ballot Guide or learn more about our voter engagement efforts, feel free to contact Carolyne.