Legalized sports betting and taxes: County ballot issues explained

Serena Bettis

As the Larimer County November election ballots hit the mailboxes Oct. 14 in preparation for the Nov. 5 election, here’s what people need to know about the ballot initiatives.

Fort Collins – Larimer County ballot issues

Political science assistant professor Ryan Scott said voting on initiatives in Colorado is similar to direct democracy, and it allows residents to act almost like a legislative body themselves. 


“When I think about the issues that we deal with in our daily lives, like what is my community like, a lot of those are most impacted by local issues,” Scott said.

The Fort Collins/Larimer County ballot asks eight questions — two involving state taxes, two for county tax increases and four to elect Poudre School District board members.

The state tax initiatives include Proposition CC and Proposition DD.

Proposition CC is not a tax increase, but rather an adjustment of the current law under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

“The two most important features (of TABOR) are that if there is any tax increase or any modification of tax policy, it must go to a state-wide vote of the people,” former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said. “If there is tax revenue left over above what the state is allowed to spend under the TABOR formula, it’s returned to the people.”

Proposition CC changes TABOR so that the revenue given back to taxpayers would be used to support public and higher education in Colorado, according to the proposal.

“It is a criticism of CC that future legislators can not be bound by decisions that voters make today about where those funds will be spent,” Ritter said.

CSU’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to back Proposition CC Sept. 9, according to a Collegian article.

If passed, Proposition DD will legalize and place taxes on sports betting for professional, international, collegiate and Olympic events. This would authorize the state to collect up to $29 million in annual tax revenue, which would go toward regulating sports betting and increasing the water project fund, according to the legislative draft.

It’s not just college students; it’s people broadly. We should have people voting … (at) the highest number we can get.” -Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado

“When I was governor, we worked on water issues in a serious way,” Ritter said. “The big question is, and will continue to be: ‘How do you fund that water plant?'”


Larimer County ballot issues 1A and 4A both ask for tax increases.

Issue 1A proposes an annual tax increase of $39 million, which would be used to maintain Larimer County facilities, operate public transportation and fund transportation projects, including improvements to Interstate 25 between state highways 402 and 66. 

Ballot Issue 4A would increase Poudre School District taxes by $18 million annually in order to increase first-year teacher salaries, provide more mental health services for students and enhance school safety and security.

The PSD Board of Directors elections are for four-year terms in Districts A, B, F and G. Districts B, F and G have one candidate running, with two candidates running for the seat in District A.

To find the ballot issues for other Colorado school districts or counties, view the Larimer County non-voter specific ballot or visit the Secretary of State’s website.

How to vote

Colorado residents can vote via mail-in ballots sent with enough time for the County Clerk’s office to receive them by 7 p.m. on election day. Larimer County’s website lists drop-box locations and polling centers that also offer in-person ballot drop-off and voting on election day from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

All registered Colorado voters automatically receive mail-in ballots.

All polling centers in Colorado offer same-day voter registration. Online registration must be completed eight days before the election, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. 

Out-of-state Colorado State University students can register for absentee ballots to vote in their hometown election or register to vote in Colorado. According to the Larimer County election FAQ, a person must have a Colorado address and have lived in the state for 22 days before the election to be able to vote.

“It’s not just college students; it’s people broadly,” Ritter said. “We should have people voting … (at) the highest number we can get.” 

Serena Bettis can be reached at or on Twitter @serenaroseb