While the 2010 general election day is still almost four weeks away, Colorado citizens will begin voting very soon. Mail ballots, which have become the preferred method of voting for election officials and increasing numbers of people, will go out next week. After that, early voting stations will open. In Jefferson County, voters can vote early from Oct. 18 until Oct. 29, except that polls will be closed Sunday, Oct. 24. The polls will then be open for every precinct Nov. 2.
As has become the case in most even-numbered years, we face a crowded ballot with big consequences this year. In addition to the top of the ticket races for governor and U.S. Senate, the statewide offices of attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state are up this year as well. People across Colorado will elect members of the House of Representatives at both the state and federal levels, and state Senate seats in this area will be contested this year.
Jefferson County voters will decide whether to retain 12 judges. Voters in the 2nd and 6th Congressional Districts will choose members of the State Board of Education. We’ll consider nine statewide ballot initiatives and elect a regent for the University of Colorado in statewide elections. Indian Hills voters are being asked whether they want to eliminate term limits for the directors of their fire district.
All elections are important, but more than usual is at stake in 2010. Most observers agree that the balance of power in the U.S. House is in play this year. While it appears unlikely that Republicans can take back the U.S. Senate, the filibuster-proof majority Democrats hold will almost certainly go away. Democrats currently hold majorities in both the Colorado House and Senate, but the balance of power could shift this year. Both Republicans and Democrats have targeted the race in state Senate District 16 between Democrat Jeannie Nicholson and Republican Tim Leonard.
Finally, the ballot initiatives could forever change this state. Passage of Amendments 60 and 61 or Proposition 101 would make it virtually impossible for governments, including school districts, to provide necessary services now and in the future. If for no other reason, voters should participate to ensure that each of these three ill-advised and destructive measures is defeated.
Whether by mail, at an early voting center or at the polls Nov. 2, your vote is important. Make sure you know about the candidates and understand the ballot issues. Then exercise your right and responsibility to vote this year.
Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.