Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sample Ballot Caution

I was using the Quick Reference page of the Daily Camera's Voter Guide to mark my voting selections, to create a cheat sheet to bring with me when I voted the other day. That is a very good idea, by the way. Even having my planned votes right in front of me, and even with no line because I voted early at an off hour, it still took me 25 minutes start to finish. There will be long lines on election day!

When marking my selection, I noticed some serious errors in the publication. Some of these errors were serious enough that, had I not spent hours reviewing all of the issues, I could easily have marked the ballot contrary to my own intentions.

Errors include:
  • The abbreviation for every party except Republican is defined. Probably not going to confuse many people, but it sure gives people who think the Camera has a liberal bias something to whine about.

  • House District 4 is labeled as District 2. This means that District 2 is listed twice (once correctly.) For someone who is using this guide to plan their votes, this could lead to researching and planning to vote for one candidate, but being presented with a different choice on election day.

  • Amendment 38, possibly the most dangerous item on the ballot is described as "limiting initiative language". In fact, this issue would make petitions easier, not limit them. If someone has seen enough ads to be aware of this issue and have an opinion but relies on this title instead of reading the description, it could lead to casting an unintended vote.

  • The worst error is on Amendment 43. The camera labels this one "domestic partnerships", while in fact this amendment would limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman. In fact, there is another issue, Referendum I, which does deal with domestic partnerships. Unfortunately, people who vote for Amendment 43 will largely vote against Referendum I and vice versa. If someone fills out this sample ballot based on the ballot title given by the Camera, they are likely to vote exactly opposite to their intentions.

  • The Camera labels Referendum E as "extending property tax exemptions for seniors." In fact, this measure would provide property tax reductions for disabled veterans. Another case of a description that has nothing to do with the actual measure, and potentially leads people to misvote.
The State of Colorado provides perfectly acceptable and politically neutral titles for every one of these issues in its Blue Book. I don't understand why the Camera couldn't have used them.

In fact, this document, with these errors, was published last month. I sent them a letter identifying the problems on October 28. However, as of today, November 4, the Voter Guide is still posted on their website with every single one of the same errors, and no correction has been published.

Is this going to turn into Boulder's "butterfly ballot"?

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