Dogs, desserts and primary ballots — unaffiliated voters, pick just one

A little girl, two Corgis, two delectable desserts and a stuffed donkey and elephant — no wonder a video from the Boulder County Clerk’s office reminding unaffiliated voters about the June 26 primary is so appealing.

The video, which helps promote the Colorado’s Secretary of State’s UChooseCo campaign, opens with the two dogs approaching Beatrix Alexander.

“You can only pet one,” says the narrator, Mircalla Wozniak, the spokeswoman for the Boulder County clerk’s office — and Beatrix’s mother.

Beatrix had to choose between the cupcake. And when it came to the elephant, the Republican, and the donkey, the Democrat, she could only pick one.

That message is a key part of UChooseCO, a campaign that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams launched in March to help inform unaffiliated voters about their new rights and responsibilities when it comes to primary elections.

Read moreDogs, desserts and primary ballots — unaffiliated voters, pick just one

Pets, plants & politics: making it work in Mineral County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Mineral County Clerk Eryn Wintz check out the map in her office in Creede. (SOS photo)

Eryn Wintz is one busy person.

She serves on the school board for the Creede School District, where she advocates for programs such as graphic design and auto mechanics.

She’s an EMT, which means her road gets plowed when it’s snowy, which is often when you live above 8,800 feet.

County Clerk Eryn Wintz’s dog Sadie sits between her and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in her SUV. (SOS photo)

And Wintz is the clerk and recorder in Mineral County, where the courthouse in Creede is about to be renovated and the operations moved to the mostly vacant Bulldog Mine office above town.

Not that Wintz hasn’t tried to find something right in the heart of Creede. Surely someone can accommodate her tiny, tiny, office for about, oh, 15 months. She worries that customers who need a new license plate or to file a document will find the new location inconvenient.

On top of this, Wintz takes a spin class in the mornings to help clear her mind.

As for the renovation, the library already has agreed to take her office plants during that time, although they’re not sure all of them will fit.

“We have more plants than people in this courthouse,” Wintz said.

Read morePets, plants & politics: making it work in Mineral County

A recap of municipal election results

The adage “all politics is local” prevailed as 120 Colorado cities and towns held elections earlier this month.

Term limits, sales-tax extensions and sales-tax defeats and pot votes, the Colorado Municipal League has the results:

Broadband
Six municipalities requested and received permission to provide or partner to provide broadband services, including Firestone, Frisco, Lake City, Limon, Lyons, and Severance. This election brings the total of cities and towns who have received voter authorization to 92.

Marijuana
Voters in Naturita passed six separate questions relating to marijuana, voting to allow medical and retail marijuana sales, manufacturing, testing, and cultivation, as well as to implement a sales tax and an excise tax on retail marijuana. Berthoud voters approved allowing municipally licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to add retail sales.

Marijuana taxes passed in Crawford, Delta, Ordway, and Yuma. The lone marijuana tax to fail was in Orchard City.

Term limits
Pagosa Springs voters approved term limits of two consecutive four-year terms, while voters in Glendale approved term limits of three consecutive four-year terms. Lyons voters split the term limit questions, approving an increase to four two-year terms for a mayor, but keeping the limit for trustees at three. Voters in Red Cliff eliminated term limits for their elected officials.

Tax and bond issues
Fruita voters approved the city’s retention of all revenues from 2019 through 2024. Alma, Elizabeth, and Lyons voters passed lodging taxes.

Sales tax questions that passed around the state include:
• Basalt – new sales tax on tobacco and nicotine products
• Cortez – extension of sales tax for family recreation center
• Glendale – modification of current sales tax to remove earmark restricting use to water-related purposes
• Ignacio – new sales tax for capital improvements
• La Veta – extension of current sales taxes for museum expenses and street improvements
• Milliken – extension of sales tax for capital improvements
• Nederland – new sales tax for roads
• Paonia – new sales tax for general operating expenses

The sales tax questions that did not pass include:
• Arriba – for capital improvements
• Crestone – for general operating expenses
• Limon – for capital improvements
• Orchard City – for roads and law enforcement services

Wiley voters approved a mill levy increase, and Carbondale voters approved the extension of a current mill levy, both to fund streets and related improvements. Mill levy increases did not pass in Ault, Orchard City, and Pitkin.
Eckley voters approved $165,000 of debt for sanitation system improvements, Limon voters authorized $8.68 million of debt for capital improvements, and Nederland voters authorized $2 million of debt for wastewater improvements.
Erie’s request for debt authority of $13.75 million for a town hall expansion did not pass.

Publication requirements
Voters approved the publication of ordinances by titles only in Hugo, Kersey, Lake City, Milliken, and Springfield. Pitkin received authorization to no longer publish the bills list or contracts awarded.

Election date
Morrison and Palmer Lake voters approved moving their regular town elections to November of even-numbered years.

Administrative charter amendments
Glendale and Morrison voters approved updates to obsolete provisions of their home rule charter.

Other issues
• Antonito – approved the sale of a public building
• Berthoud – approved a 32.44 acre annexation
• Erie – approved the sale of 0.65 acres of town land
• Frisco – did not approve the sale or lease of a community park for residential use
• Pagosa Springs – approved the elimination of council districts and for council members to be elected at-large

“In Colorado, we like things to be fair”

Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who announced in December she was leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an unaffiliated voter, speaks at a UChooseCO event Tuesday aimed at informing unaffiliated voters about the primary election. Seated to her left is Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Two Colorado politicians who are unaffiliated appealed Tuesday to other unaffiliated voters to get involved in the June 26 primary election and help choose which Democratic and Republican hopefuls will be on the ballot in November.

Richard Skorman, president of the Colorado Springs City Council, and state Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, said they are glad not to be unaffiliated with any party. Skorman has been unaffiliated since 2002, while Jahn announced last December that after voting independently for years she was leaving the Democratic Party.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers writes on an inflatable “U” that is part of the UChooseCO campaign for unaffiliated voters as Colorado Springs City Council President Richard Skorman looks on. (UChooseCO photo)

“I really think there’s a lot of us out there who want to be able to weigh in on both sides,” Skorman said, during a news conference at Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs in the morning.

“I want you to know how important your voices are,” Jahn said, during a news conference on the west steps of the state Capitol in Denver in the afternoon.

The events were part of the Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ UChooseCO campaign to help inform unaffiliated voters about their new rights and responsibilities for participating in primary elections.  The campaign kicked off last week in Grand Junction.

Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita,  financed and led Proposition 108, which voters passed in 2016 giving unaffiliated voters — the largest voting block in Colorado — the right to automatically receive primary ballots.

He said in Washington lawmakers have taken him aside to say they would like to vote on compromise bills but if they did they would be knocked out in their next primary election.

“We’ve got lots of elected officials who will be liberated to govern in ways they haven’t been historically,” Thiry told the Denver crowd.

At each event, speakers were asked to write on a yellow, 8-foot, inflatable U a word or phrase that reflected their values. The U’s will remain in their communities during the campaign. Williams, who lives in Colorado Springs and suffers a miserable commute to work in Denver, wrote “I-25” on the U in Colorado Springs. He continued the theme in Denver, writing “transportation” on that inflatable.

Read more“In Colorado, we like things to be fair”

Here come the unaffiliated voters

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams listens to questions Friday in Grand Junction as part of the UChooseCO campaign, intended to help unaffiliated voters learn their new role in the primary election. To his right is an inflatable 8-foot “U.” Participants were asked to write on it something that represented their values. Williams later penned, “Community.” (SOS photo)

GRAND JUNCTION — Bob Cook’s an unaffiliated voter in Mesa County who was asked to speak at the kickoff for a  campaign designed to help educate unaffiliated voters about their new role in the primary election.

He’s also the pastor of the Victory Life Church in Fruita, which is why minutes before the news conference on Friday he pretended to pull a speech from his jacket and said, “He is risen.”

Pastor Bob Cook is an unaffiliated voter in Mesa County. (SOS photo)

That got some laughs but Cook saved that sermon for today and instead dealt with the ballot measure Coloradans passed in 2016. Proposition 108 allows unaffiliated voters to automatically participate in primary elections without having to declare membership in either the Republican or the Democratic party. But they must choose between the Republican or Democratic ballot.

Cook was joined by Secretary of State Wayne Williams, clerks from three counties and several Mesa County elected officials to launch the UChooseCO campaign.

The goal is to let unaffiliated voters know they can now participate in primary elections, that they can choose whether they want to receive a Republican or a Democratic ballot and those who don’t will get both ballots but can only vote one.

“I hope that unaffiliated voters will do exactly what this campaign is designed to do: Take advantage of the chance to participate but just don’t mail in both the Republican and the Democratic ballots because that wipes out your vote,” Cook  said.

Read moreHere come the unaffiliated voters