2020 Ballot Recommendations

YES on AMENDMENT B: Repeal Gallagher Amendment of 1982 

Summary of Amendment B: This constitutional amendment would repeal the Gallagher Amendment of 1982, which limits the residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates so that residential property taxes equal 45% of the total share of state property taxes and non-residential property taxes equal 55% of the total share of state property taxes. 

Recommendation Rationale: Colorado’s schools, libraries, firefighters, police officers, and special districts can’t afford the Gallagher Amendment. Gallagher has become a financial boondoggle thanks to TABOR, and before rural fire departments and special districts go under, we have to get rid of Gallagher in order to protect their budgets. The financing mechanisms no longer serve the purpose that they were supposed to when this was adopted in the 1980’s, and the amendment frankly cannot coexist with TABOR. The Gallagher Amendment is hampering our local governments’ ability to properly fund needed services. Gallagher needs to go.

The Colorado Democratic Party (the state party) did not take a position.

YES on AMENDMENT C: Charitable Bingo and Raffles Amendment

Summary of Amendment C: This amendment to the state constitution would lower the number of years an organization must have existed before obtaining a charitable gaming license from five years to three years and would allow charitable organizations to hire managers and operators of gaming activities so long as they are not paid more than the minimum wage. 

Recommendation Rationale: This measure helps local charities hold bingo and raffle events in order to raise funds for their operations. This helps them support folks and causes in communities across the state. Rep. Jonathan Singer was one of the prime sponsors of this bill in the legislature.

The Colorado Democratic Party (the state party) did not take a position.

NO on AMENDMENT 76: Changing the Colorado constitution from “every citizen” can vote to “only a citizen” can vote.

Summary of Amendment 76: This initiative would amend Section 1 of Article VIII of the Colorado Constitution to state that only citizens of the United States can vote in federal, state, and local elections. The Colorado Constitution currently says, “Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of eighteen years, has resided in this state for such a time as may be prescribed by law, and has been duly registered as a voter if required by law shall be qualified to vote at all elections.” Under the ballot measure, the Colorado Constitution would say, “Only a citizen of the United States….” Current Colorado law requires U.S. citizenship to register to vote.[1]

Recommendation Rationale: This initiative is a racist dog whistle intended to increase turnout among anti-immigrant, racist voters. It also targets communities in Boulder County seeking to enfranchise undocumented residents in local elections and would strip from municipalities the right to expand suffrage in municipal elections. 

* AMENDMENT 77: Expand allowed gaming types and bet limits

*Indicates that the BCDP voted to not take a position on Amendment 77.

Summary of Amendment 77: The initiative would allow voters in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek — the only towns where gaming is legal in Colorado — to approve a maximum single bet of any amount and approve more game types in addition to slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps. The measure would repeal language that is currently in the Colorado Constitution that limits the types of games allowed in the casinos and that sets a maximum single bet of $100.

YES on PROPOSITION EE: Tax on E-cigarettes; dedicates funds to education

Summary of Proposition EE: This measure would incrementally increase cigarette and tobacco product taxes and create a new tax on nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. Currently, in Colorado, cigarettes are taxed at a statutory rate of 20 cents per pack, tobacco products (cigars and tobacco designed to be chewed or smoked in a pipe) are taxed at a statutory rate of 20%, and nicotine products such as e-cigarettes are not taxed. The ballot measure would incrementally increase the statutory cigarette tax rate to $1.80 per pack and the statutory tax on other tobacco products to 22% by July 2027. It would also create a tax on nicotine products that would match the tobacco products tax rates. The rate would begin at 30% of the MLP in 2021 and would increase gradually to 62% of MLP by July 2027.

Recommendation Rationale: Colorado is one of a few states without a statewide tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products. Plus, Colorado’s tobacco taxes are among the lowest in the country. While these taxes are regressive in nature, they counteract the equally regressive and predatory advertising force from large corporations to target the LGBTQ community, BIPOC, and our youth. The state needs to provide a countervailing force to deter nicotine use when communities are bombarded with ads. This is especially important when healthcare costs are considered, since nicotine taxes can lower medical costs across the healthcare system. It’s time for Colorado to join the rest of the country in adopting a nicotine tax that covers vaping products, and Colorado should increase taxes to deter nicotine use during a pandemic. Plus, funds generated will go towards preschool, rural education, and keep our tobacco cessation programs funded during this financial crisis.

The Colorado Democratic Party (the state party) did not take a position.

YES on PROPOSITION 113: National Popular Vote

Summary of Proposition 113: The National Popular Vote guarantees the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states. During the 2019 legislative session the Colorado legislature passed, and Governor Polis signed the National Popular Vote into law (SB19-042). Colorado joined with 14 other states and the District of Columbia, together representing 196 electoral votes, in passing the National Popular Vote. The National Popular Vote law will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the presidential electors—that is, 270 of 538. All the electoral votes from those states will then be awarded to the candidate receiving the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Recommendation Rationale: We must fight back against Republican attempts to bolster the Electoral College, an inherently anti-democratic institution since its inception. The NPV compact is a path towards voter empowerment and modernizing our democracy.

YES on PROPOSITION 114: Reintroduces gray wolves on public lands

Summary of Proposition 114: The measure would require the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create and carry out a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves (Canis lupus) to Colorado lands west of the continental divide by the end of 2023. The exact location of wolf reintroductions would be determined by the commission. The commission would also manage any distribution of state funds that are made available to “pay fair compensation to owners of livestock for any losses of livestock caused by gray wolves.” The measure would direct the state legislature to make appropriations to fund the reintroduction program.

Recommendation Rationale: Since the 1940s, when Colorado’s last wolf was killed, our ecosystem has suffered. A lack of natural balance means that too many elk and deer eat away the vegetation that holds streams and rivers back, leading to erosion and the disruption of even more habitats, like those for native beavers and songbirds. Wolves also naturally limit the spread of disease, such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), by taking vulnerable animals out of the population.

The Colorado Democratic Party (the state party) did not take a position.

NO on PROPOSITION 115: Prohibits abortion after 22 weeks gestational age

Summary of Proposition 115: This initiative would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of gestation, towards the end of the second trimester of pregnancy. A physician would declare a date of conception from which this 22-week period would be established.

Recommendation Rationale: The government should never be in the business of telling women what to do with their bodies, but in addition to this, a ban on abortion procedures after 22 weeks of pregnancy could place some women in the cruel situation of being forced to carry an unviable pregnancy to term, or travel to a different state to have an abortion performed. For these reasons, we and the Colorado Democratic Party recommend a position of “oppose.”

NO on PROPOSITION 116: Decrease state income tax from 4.63% to 4.55%

Summary of Proposition 116: The initiative would decrease the state income tax rate for individuals, estates, and trusts from 4.63% of federal taxable income to 4.55% for tax years commencing on and after January 1, 2020. The tax rate would also reduce the tax rate for domestic and foreign C corporations operating in Colorado from 4.63% of Colorado net income to 4.55%.

Recommendation Rationale: This is a billionaire bailout that will not help working families, and will instead gut our education and transportation budgets.

NO on PROPOSITION 117: Require Voter Approval of Certain New Enterprises Exempt from TABOR Initiative

Summary of Proposition 117: The initiative would require statewide voter approval of new state enterprises if the enterprise’s projected or actual revenue from fees and surcharges is greater than $100 million within its first five years. Revenue collected for enterprises that were created at the same time or that serve substantially the same purpose would be aggregated when calculating the application of this amendment.

Recommendation Rationale: This bill would prevent future state enterprises, or services, like a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, from being passed from the legislature without approval from the voters. This is essentially a TABOR extension.

YES on PROPOSITION 118: Paid Medical and Family Leave

Summary of Proposition 118: The Paid Family and Medical Leave ballot initiative would create a public family and medical leave insurance program that would guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid leave if someone needs extended time off to recover from a physical or mental illness, take care of a sick loved one, or spend time with a new child (biological or adopted). The insurance program would be funded through a premium paid equally by employers and employees at a rate equal to .9% of the employee’s annual wage. 

Recommendation Rationale: As of now, 2.6 million Coloradans do not have access to Paid Family and Medical leave; that means the 2.6 million Coloradans will at some point have to choose between spending critical time with a new child or loved one, or recovering from an illness, and keeping their job and pay.

YES  on CITY OF BOULDER BALLOT ISSUE 2B: No Evictions Without Representation

Summary of City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2B: No Eviction Without Representation is a ballot initiative that will guarantee free legal representation to individuals and families who are summoned to eviction court. Right to counsel has been successful in a number of other cities, including San Francisco and New York City. Boulder would be the seventh city to adopt such a program. City of Boulder officials recently approved an amendment to the initiative to change the proposed funding mechanism from a fee to a tax and also added rental assistance. 

Recommendation Rationale: Eviction is a problem nationwide, and the City of Boulder is no exception. Eviction results in homelessness, loss of income, job insecurity and destabilizes families and communities. With stagnating wages, the high cost of living in Boulder and unprecedented levels of unemployment, the Boulder is in need of greater safety net programs to prevent the most housing-insecure members of our community from ending up on the streets. Currently, only 2% of renters who appear in court have access to legal counsel compared to 88% of landlords. This imbalance of power between landlords and tenants must be corrected by guaranteeing legal representation to those who face the threat of eviction. The Boulder County Democrats should endorse this measure. 

* CITY OF BOULDER BALLOT ISSUE 2C: Public Service Company Franchise

*Indicates that the BCDP voted to not take a position on City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2C.

Summary of City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2C: If approved by voters, the city would pause its ongoing efforts to create a municipal electric utility and enter a new 20-year franchise with Colorado’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy. The settlement package includes several other important provisions, including opportunities for the city to exit the franchise agreement under certain conditions; clear emissions benchmarks; and a framework for innovative projects the city, Xcel Energy and the community could implement together.

Recommendation Rationale: The Democratic community and climate activists in Boulder County is split on the issue of municipalization more than they have been since muni passed. As a result, we recommend the BoCo Dems remain neutral.

YES on CITY OF BOULDER BALLOT ISSUE 2D: Repurpose the Utility Occupation Tax

Summary of City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2D:  Extends the portion of the Utility Occupation Tax (UOT) originally dedicated to forming a municipal electrical utility from its current expiration of Dec 31, 2022 to Dec 31, 2025.  The extension is dependent on voters also passing the Xcel franchise agreement, which the committee is recommending the party not take a position on. UOT revenue could repay some costs associated with the formation of a municipal utility and fund projects that support the city’s clean energy goals in the context of the city’s racial equity goals. 

Recommendation Rationale: The city’s municipalization effort has been costly.  The pandemic has also hurt the city financially.  Extending the UOT would put the city on better financial footing.  Extra revenue could allow the city to help disadvantaged members of the community with utility bill payments, improve energy system reliability and modernization, and increase access to energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions.  The climate crisis is the existential threat of our time.  A 2020 report called out a zip code in western Boulder County (not the city of Boulder) as producing the most greenhouse gas per person in the nation.  Boulder should do its part to solve the climate crisis, be a model for the rest of Boulder County and work to decrease the economic gap that exists in the city’s population.

YES on CITY OF BOULDER BALLOT ISSUE 2E: Direct Election of Mayor

Summary: Presently, elected members of Boulder City Council elect the mayor and mayor pro tem of Boulder. City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2E amends the Boulder City Charter to provide for the direct election of the mayor by ranked choice (instant runoff) voting.

Rationale: From BCDP Chair, Raffi Mercuri — “In a time when democracy itself is under attack at the highest levels of government, City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2E seeks to expand opportunities to participate in direct democracy and introduce a more modern, representative way to vote.” 

The BCDP Executive Committee voted yes in support of this measure.

YES on CITY OF BOULDER BALLOT ISSUE 2F: Arts Commission from 5 to 7 members

Summary of City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2F:  Changes the city charter to increase the Arts Commission from 5 to 7 members.  In March 2021 one new member would begin a 5-year term and the other a 3-year term in order to stagger the expiration of commissioner terms.  

Recommendation Rationale:  The Boulder Arts Commission was established in 1979 to increase awareness and support for the arts.  It administers the city arts grant program and makes recommendations to the council with respect to annual budget appropriations for the arts.  The unpaid commissioners serve 5-year terms.  The Arts Commission’s 2020 letter to city council included a request to increase the size of the commission because of the steep learning curve and intense time commitment associated with grants decisions.

YES on CITY OF LONGMONT BALLOT QUESTION 3C: Revenue Bonds for Water Improvement

Summary of City of Longmont Ballot Question 3C: This measure opens up new lines of financing that will be used to build much needed water capital improvement projects including improved wastewater treatment. 

Recommendation Rationale: The city of Longmont has had to raise water rates multiple times in the last two years to try and finance water improvement projects. This measure could ease some of the burden and allow the city to update critical infrastructure. This measure will improve quality of life and cost of living for Longmont residents, and the Boulder County Democratic Party should be in support.

NO on CITY OF LONGMONT BALLOT QUESTION 3D: Allow City of Longmont to Lease Property for 30 years

Summary of City of Longmont Ballot Question 3D: This charter amendment will revise section 12.4 of the City of Longmont’s charter to allow the city to lease its property for up to 30-years. Currently, the city is only allowed to lease property for up to 20-years. 

Recommendation Rationale: This exact measure was put to the voters last year and failed. Supporters say the goal of the measure is to incentivize private-public partnerships between developers and the city by creating more stable leasing conditions. However, these partnerships often feature unnecessary subsidies for developers, while at the same time making it harder for the city to leverage the value of their own property. We are recommending that the Boulder County Democratic Party affirm the choice Longmont voters made in 2019 and reject this charter amendment.


*Indicates that the BCDP voted to not take a position on City of Louisville Ballot Question 2A.

Summary of City of Louisville Ballot Question 2A: Louisville residents will be deciding whether there should be a 25-cent disposable bag tax in place when shopping at all retailers within the city beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Out of the 25 cents/bag, 10 cents go to the retailer and 15 cents to the city.

Please note: a position was stated for the City of Louisville Ballot Question 2A in the print version of the voter guide and on this website previously. This was incorrect. The BCDP Executive Committee voted to take no position on this measure.