Holitza: Colorado ballot issues that could impact the young voter

Mason Holitza

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Colorado was, for a long time, a volatile swing state, often playing its part in changing the results of each and every election. In the past few years, however, Colorado has turned bluer. That doesn’t mean Democrats are guaranteed a win, though.

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That being said, with one day left to vote, there is still time to change the outcome. Lots of these ballot issues will affect young voters and college students.

Prop 113: The beginning of the end of the electoral college

The electoral college is often seen as comparably unfair to those who may live in a district that often votes against their party, meaning that the vote goes to the opposing candidate most of the time.

The system was originally intended, when our country was in its infancy, as a way to vocalize the opinions and needs of those who were often not educated enough to know how to vote correctly as well as to prevent tyranny from populous states.

So what does our vote mean? Proposition 113 is a bill, signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis, that joins Colorado to what is known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. In the case that enough states sign on to create an electoral majority, it would make Colorado commit to sending our electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote.

Another concern over the electoral college is that it could provide a setting for gerrymandering to occur.

For students, we have seen gerrymandering that is meant to undermine the impact a college campus may have. In some cases, such as North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s campus, students saw redistricting that put the institution into different electoral districts. According to the student newspaper, The A&T Register, “The redistricting took the primarily Democratic-siding campus and moved it and its votes into Republican districts” by putting half of each campus population into a separate district, making each student’s vote significantly less influential. 

It is something that occurs more often than one might think and endorses the use of underhanded tactics to win elections. The redrawing of electoral districts is a tactic that is, unfortunately, still completely legal in the United States. 

“The freedom of choice is one that should be cherished.”

Proposition 115: Proposal to restrict abortion after 22 weeks

This proposition would, by far, affect the most voters directly. It is a slippery slope to discuss the issue of abortion because it is a question of one’s moral values. Consciousness is a scientific theory, whether or not a woman has the right to feel comfortable in her decision is not. This proposition is an attempt to chip away at these established rights.

The freedom of choice is one that should be cherished. There certainly remains an argument to support the ethics of outlawing late-term abortion, but it is the principle of choice that must remain intact.

According to a January 2019 report from Guttmacher Institute, women ages 18-24 are a category that has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy. 

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President Donald Trump has just appointed Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court, representing a regression in our court system’s social principals. She also seems to reflect the opposite of the social progress made in the past decade. She has opened the possibility of threatening the reproductive rights of millions of Americans. 

Proposition EE: Nicotine taxes

Proposition EE is a proposal that will attempt to decrease the use of tobacco and nicotine products by increasing taxes incrementally on electronic cigarettes, cigarettes and tobacco products. 

This includes vape products, by the way, meaning your disposable is likely to cost incrementally more over the next four years. The legislature seems to think that if a large amount of the population wants to participate in something that negatively impacts its health, then it should be heavily taxed to negate and impede use.

Vape mod
As a state-owned property, Colorado State University falls under the same tobacco ban under Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Nov. 2018 executive order as other state-owned buildings and properties. (Photo Illustration by Skyler Pradhan | The Collegian)

The proposition is designed to take funds collected from the taxes and redistribute them to healthcare and education programs. 

While those who may use these nicotine products could find their hand drifting on this vote, it is better for Colorado to be healthier and to have fewer smokers. 

The way that this backfires for the individual is that those who cannot afford them might buy them anyway and lose the money they would have spent more productively. 

There isn’t quite enough space in one article to cover each and every initiative in depth, but the vote on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and State Government Enterprises, the Gallagher Amendment, changes in gaming laws and changes in state income taxes are all additional important issues on the ballot.

It’s important to read into each issue to figure out how each vote will impact individuals personally. It seems as if many students will often blindly vote with their parents, sometimes against their own interests. So really consider whether or not you are truly voting for you. 

If you would like a brief overview of everything on the ballot, be sure to check out The Collegian’s voter guide, here.

Mason Holitza can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @MHolitza.