Note: You also can download a two-page PDF version of this voting guide.
The Presidential Race
With respect to the presidential election, I’ll likely abstain for the reasons similar to those given in Craig Biddle’s essay McBama vs. America. Given the Republican Party’s dangerous entanglement with fundamentalist Christianity, I will not vote for Republican candidates. (For my detailed reasons, see my 2006 essay Why I’m Voting for the Democrats.) However, McCain is particularly revolting. So if I vote for anyone, I’ll vote for Obama. He’s beyond awful, but I have some reason to hope that he’ll be ineffectual. Plus, the Republicans might grow some cajones as the opposition party.
Colorado’s Senate Race
With respect to Colorado’s Senate race between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall, I plan to vote for Udall. Again, part of my reason is my unwillingness to vote for any Republican. To do so is to hasten the transformation of America into a “Christian nation,” and I do not wish to live in such a place. In particular, Republican Bob Schaffer is an ardent opponent of all abortion because it’s contrary to God’s will. In contrast, Udall has offered a wonderfully strong statement in support of the separation of church and state.
Of course, many of Udall’s views are downright awful. Although he voted against the bailout twice, he’s no advocate of free markets or limited government. However, Republicans are no better on that score: federal spending rose a whopping 68% under President Bush. Also, Bob Schaffer advocates a “refereed private sector” — i.e. an economy controlled and managed by politicians and bureaucrats. He even supports antitrust lawsuits against health insurance companies. Despite the vocal claims of his advocates, he is no friend of capitalism.
Colorado’s Ballot Measures
Colorado has an insane number of measures on the ballot this year. In my view, the two most important are Amendment 48 — which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs — and Amendment 59 — which would permanently raise taxes. Please, vote NO on both measures.
Here are my recommendations on all the measures:
Amendment 46: Colorado Civil Rights Initiative: A46 would prohibit the government from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, or contracting.
Diana says: Yes. Governments ought not discriminate on the basis of irrelevant factors like race and sex.
Amendment 47: Right to Work initiative: A47 would prohibit requiring an employee to join and pay any dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment.
Diana says: No. It is a violation of contract and property rights to prohibit businesses from voluntarily agreeing with unions to only hire only union employees.
Amendment 48: Definition of Personhood: A48 would define the term “person” to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization,” thereby granting all the rights of persons to embryos and fetuses.
Diana says: NO NO NO NO! A person is not created at conception but rather born. This measure would outlaw nearly all abortion, ban the birth control pill, morning-after pill, and IUD, and impose police controls on pregnant women. For more, see the Coalition for Secular Government’s information on Amendment 48.
Amendment 49: Limitation on Public Payroll Deductions Initiative: A49 would prohibit union dues from being automatically deducted from the paychecks of public employees by limiting the allowed deductions.
Diana says: Yes. Although this measure should not be a constitutional amendment, taxpayers are within their rights to manage the terms of government employment. Currently, union withholdings often go strait to pro-union political campaigns seeking to violate our rights. Government employees will retain their right and ability to fund any group through their own bank account. For more, see John Caldera’s damn funny video.
Amendment 50: Limited Gaming Initiative: A50 would allow residents of gaming towns to vote to extend casino hours, add games, and increase the bet limit to $100–with most of the resulting tax revenue going to community colleges.
Diana says: Yes. Limitations on gambling are a paternalistic violation of rights, and this measure would loosen some of them. While gaming regulations shouldn’t be part of our constitution, A50 only amends existing constitutional provisions. Also, the additional tax revenue will be used for government education, but that seems inevitable in our current political climate.
Amendment 51: Sales Tax for Developmentally Disabled Initiative: A51 would increase the state sales and use tax from 2.9% to 3.0% in 2009 then to 3.1% in 2010 to fund services for disabled people. It would prohibit any reduction in funding for such programs.
Diana says: NO! This tax hike is not just welfare-statist but downright altruistic. Moreover, the constitution should not limit the legislature in its budget allocations.
Amendment 52: Severance Tax & Transportation Initiative: A52 would require the legislature to spend a portion of state severance taxes on highway projects.
Diana says: No. The use of tax revenue should be determined by the legislature, not by the constitution.
Amendment 54: Clean Government Initiative: A54 would limit the campaign contributions of certain government contractors and labor groups.
Diana says: No. Campaign finance laws are unjust restrictions on freedom of speech. They ought to be repealed, not extended.
Amendment 58: Severance Tax Initiative: A58 would increase the amount of state severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies, primarily by eliminating an existing tax credit. The additional revenue would fund college scholarships, wildlife habitat, renewable energy projects, etc.
Diana says: NO! This measure is populism at its worst. It is a tax hike against an unpopular but vital industry for the sake of illegitimate government funding of schooling.
Amendment 59: Savings Account for Education Initiative: A59 would eliminate TABOR rebates, spending the that tax revenue on P-12 education, eliminating the required inflationary increase for P-12 education spending, and setting aside money in a new savings account for P-12 education.
Diana says: NO NO NO! This measure would be a permanent tax hike to enable more irresponsible spending by politicians. See the web site of Vote No on 59.
Referendum L: Candidate requirements: Ref L would lower the age of a candidate for the Colorado House and Senate from 25 to 21.
Diana says: Yes. Adults should be able to serve in the legislature.
Referendum M: Obsolete constitutional provisions: Ref M would eliminate obsolete provisions in the constitution about land value increases.
Diana says: Yes. Obsolete provisions should be repealed.
Referendum N: Obsolete constitutional provisions: Ref N would eliminate obsolete provisions in the constitution about intoxicating liquor.
Diana says: Yes. Obsolete provisions should be repealed.
Referendum O: Initiative Process: Ref O would increase the requirements for placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot by requiring more total signatures, with 8% to be gathered from each congressional district. The requirements for statutory initiatives would be lessened.
Diana says: Yes. Amending the Colorado constitution should not be the state sport. Those attempting to do so should have to show that their measure has substantial and broad support from across the state.
That’s all folks!