Our View: Cast ballot on Election Day | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Cast ballot on Election Day

— As a historic and headache-inducing election season comes to a close, we urge all Routt County registered voters to cast a ballot on Election Day.

This year’s ballot puts a number of important issues and races to the voters, the presidential contest being just one of them. State voters will decide more than a dozen amendments and referendums, in addition to a U.S. Senate race and several U.S. House of Representatives contests. At the local and regional level, there’s a city of Steamboat Springs half-cent sales tax for education as well as contested races for state House and state Senate seats. We’ll also elect a new district attorney.

A record number of local voters already have cast their ballots, taking advantage of expanded early voting options and a concerted push toward mail-in ballots. We hope early voters, as well as those yet to cast their ballots, have taken the time to inform themselves on the issues.

For those who haven’t, there’s still time to catch up. The Pilot & Today’s Election Guide is a good start, and it can be downloaded at http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/election2008/. The state’s voter information guide can be found at http://www.coloradobluebook.com. And there’s no shortage of issue stances and discussions on the Web sites of all local, regional, state and national candidates.

Following is a recap of the Pilot & Today Editorial Board’s stance on local and statewide ballot initiatives:

– Referendums 2A and 2B: Yes. Renewing the half-cent city sales tax for education is essential to maintaining the level of education programming provided by the Steamboat Springs School District. Likewise, 2B rightly allows neighboring districts in Hayden and South Routt to apply for some of the funds.

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– Amendment 46: No. The cleverly worded “affirmative action” amendment would have broad consequences for many valid and worthwhile state programs. It doesn’t belong in our constitution.

– Amendments 47, 49 and 54: No. These three anti-union measures seek to fix problems we don’t think exist. Again, they don’t belong in our state constitution.

– Amendment 48: No. The “personhood” amendment is a thinly veiled attempt to ban abortion, and it could have far-reaching consequences in other areas of state law.

– Amendment 50: No. Giving a percentage of casino gambling profits to the state’s community college system is little more than a PR ploy for casinos to make more money. Gambling too often destroys lives, and increasing the minimum bets in state casinos only will add to the problem.

– Amendment 51: No. We support the effort to help the state’s developmentally disabled, but now is not the time to increase the state sales tax to do so.

– Amendments 52 and 58: No. The Legislature absolutely should examine the tax credits given to the oil and gas industry, but Amendments 52 and 58 dedicate too much of the revenue to narrowly focused budget items.

– Amendment 59: Yes. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we’ve seen for resolving the budgetary constraints imposed by the combination of TABOR and Amendment 23.

– Referendums L, M and N: Yes. Referendum L allows residents as young as 21 to run for the state Legislature. Referendums M and N get rid of outdated constitutional language. All three deserve a yes vote.

– Referendum O: Yes. This year’s ballot is Exhibit A for why it’s too easy for special interest groups to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Referendum O steers citizen initiatives toward that statutory variety, and that’s a direction we support.

Regardless of whether you agree with our stances, we urge you to take the time to vote on Election Day. There’s not a single more important right given to citizens in a democracy.