Voters Say Long Ballot Confusing, Officials Ask Voters to Be Prepared

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

This November's ballot is the longest Colorado has seen since 1912. 11 News took to the streets to talk with voters, who it's possibly the most confusing as well.

The President, Congressmen, State Representatives, County Commissioners, judge retentions, 18 statewide initiatives and a handful of local ones -- Some Grand Valley residents say looking at this year's ballot is enough to make their head spin.

"Wow, that's a lot of election information," said Grand Junction voter Karen McClanaham. "A lot of of information."

"I certainly don't know what all the issues are," said Grand Junction voter Robin Parker. "I know there's some important ones and I'm afraid some of those will be overlooked because it's so long."

So just what kind of effect will the longest ballot in Mesa County history have on voters? 11 News took to Main Street where we asked voters to read through the 13 page ballot and see what they made of it.

"Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes extending the criminal liability of a business entity to its executive officials for the entity's failure to perform a specific duty by law, and in connection therewith -- holy cow!" said McClanaham, as she read Amendment 53. "It's very complicated, I mean with all the if's and's and for with."

"Who makes a contribution in a ballot issue election from entering into a sole source government contract related to the ballot issue and imposing liability and penalties on contract holders, certain of their owners -- It's just gibberish really," said Parker. "No one's going to know what it means."

State officials say there is a way to sort through all the confusion, but it's going to take some effort on your part. In October, all registered voters in Colorado will receive a blue book, a guide to each ballot issue, listing the pros and cons in easy to understand language. It's a ballot lifeline some voters say they will definitely have at the polls with them this year.

"If I was reading this for the first time in the ballot booth, I would probably be there all day," said Parker. "I think this time it's very important to know what we're looking at before we go into the booth."

"There's a lot of people who will not be able to weed out this stuff," said McClanaham. "So that will help a bunch."

It's for that reason, officials are making a big push to get people to vote by mail-in ballot this year.

"Spending as much time as they want on the ballot as opposed to being in a voting booth, I think is a good way to go," said Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman.

But for those who plan to vote early or come to the polls on November 4, they say the best thing you can do to ensure a smooth election day, is be prepared.

Early voting in Mesa County begins October 20 and runs through October 31. You can still apply for a mail-in ballot through October 28.


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