Trish Zornio offers his thoughts on the 2021 Colorado election

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It’s the best time of year in Colorado: the yellowing aspens, the crisp mountain air, and the effortlessly arriving ballots in the mail.

As a state, we have one of the most robust mail voting systems in the country. Unfortunately, off-cycle elections can still see a drop in turnout and sometimes lead to changes that might not reflect the majority. It is therefore all the more important to vote every year.

Here are my picks for the 2021 election. You should always review the proposals using the state ballot information booklet and the articles provided below. If you haven’t received the booklet in the mail, you can access it at leg.colorado.gov/bluebook.

Trish Zornio (Photo by Holly Hursley Photography)

Amendment 78

This measure asks voters whether we should amend the state constitution to require legislative authority to spend state money. It takes a majority of 55% to pass.

As is often the case, the title of this amendment is a bit misleading. The General Assembly already oversees state revenue in budgeting. This amendment seeks additional oversight of custody funds, that is, non-recurring funds such as federal pandemic assistance.

However, trust funds are also already under review by the Joint Budget Committee, and adding oversight has unintended consequences, including delays in emergency funds. You can read more pros and cons in The Colorado Sun and Colorado Public Radio coverage.

Vote: No

Proposition 119

This measure asks voters to decide whether we should create a program of learning enrichment and academic advancement. The passage requires a simple majority.

The program would help children from low-income families pay for out-of-school learning opportunities. There is bipartisan support, including from former governors. Bill Ritter and Bill Owens, former Senator Mark Udall and current Senators Rhonda Fields and Bob Gardner.

The benefits of helping low-income students with after-school opportunities cannot be overstated. Children from affluent families continue to have access to private tutors, second language coaching, mental health services and more. This allowed their school performance to increase much faster, especially during the pandemic. Above all, it is not a voucher program. The text explicitly states that the funds cannot be used for private school tuition or a student’s regular program.

There are significant drawbacks. This measure does not address the underlying lack of public school funding for the regular program, and even diverts some funds from public schools to create this initiative. It is also increasing taxes on the cannabis industry and creating a governor-appointed board of directors with unclear trajectories.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

On the weight, this is a more difficult call than the other measures on the ballot. However, the arguments for helping children from low-income families keep up with their wealthier peers outweigh the disadvantages. Other attempts at reform, such as the review of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, are too far from useful for students today. Continuing to allow low-income children to suffer lifelong consequences in the pursuit of perfection is not an effective policy.

For more in-depth reviews, read more on The Colorado Sun and Colorado Public Radio.

Vote: Yes

Proposition 120

This measure asks voters if they want to permanently lower property tax assessment rates specifically for multi-family dwellings and lodging properties. It would also allow the state to keep the money to fund existing property tax exemptions. It takes a simple majority to pass.

The impact on local governments – and therefore local services – could be significant and would vary statewide. This would include likely cuts in education, fire and police services, transportation and libraries.

Vote: No

Select local initiatives

Rock: Vote “Yes” out of 300 for increased accessibility and durability of housing.

Denver: Vote “No” on 2F to maintain housing affordability and sustainability.

Broom field: Vote “Yes” on 2A to implement ranked choice voting.

Candidates for the school board

Many local areas have candidates for school boards in elections. These positions are extremely important, especially since our school boards are under attack by anti-democratic groups.

Please do not leave these sections blank. By using their websites and social media pages, you should at least make sure that your candidates recognize the COVID-19 precautions and the free and fair elections of 2020, and that they don’t bow to attacks on critical theory. of the race. You can also seek endorsements from trusted representatives, the Colorado Education Association, the Working Families Party, and local unions.


Trish Zornio is a scientist, speaker and writer who has worked in some of the best universities and hospitals in the country. She is passionate about rock climbing and was a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate in Colorado.


The Colorado Sun is a non-partisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the views of the newsroom. Read our Ethics Policy to learn more about The Sun’s Opinion Policy and submit columns, suggest writers, or provide feedback to [email protected]


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