While votes are always important, this midterm cycle feels particularly important. Not only are the issues on the table crucial — the economy, climate, women’s reproductive rights — but this election is the first major test of our democratic norms since Trump and his supporters refused to accept the 2020 results . Since then, abstainers have worked tirelessly to undermine trust in our democratic systems and to lay the groundwork for rejection of this cycle’s outcomes.
It is difficult to understand what motivates these deniers to work against democracy, but one thing is certain: we must not allow their work to have a chilling effect on elections. No matter who or what you choose, it is imperative that you choose. As we argued in our endorsement Elective Measure 2E, high turnout is good for our community. It helps ensure that our laws and our leaders are representative of us—all of us.
Still, we understand that election day can be daunting for those who are undecided or haven’t had the time to research every single candidate and question.
This year, choosing between some candidates seems less like choosing between opposing worldviews and more like choosing between contrasting realities.
And for many, our voting actions aren’t much clearer. Locally, voters must decide whether or not to support repeal of the CU South annexation, a measure that will impact flood control efforts, open space and the university’s growth. Choice 6C will determine the fate of our local libraries. And measure 2E might even change if we vote.
But no matter how intimidated we may be by the complexity of these decisions, we cannot have the attitude that our voice doesn’t matter. It’s easy to think that a vote here or there wouldn’t have affected a result, but results are the accumulation of individual votes. Every vote, here and there, makes a difference.
With that in mind, here is a summary of the Daily Camera’s recommendations. We have not weighed every issue and rather than endorse candidates we have chosen to have them write guest opinions setting out their vision for our communities, but hopefully these following positions will help you make your own decisions and for to vote for the future that you believe is best for Boulder and Colorado.
“Yes” to measure 6C
Decades of chronic underfunding of our libraries has led to the tipping point we are now at: contemplating a ballot measure to create a property-tax funded library district.
This proposed district will not come cheap. The new wealth tax is likely to weigh heavily on some, particularly small businesses. But in this particular case, the benefits of fully funded and financially stable libraries outweigh the costs. A new library district will enable our libraries to continue to promote literacy, advance equality, protect freedom of expression, and inspire intellectual curiosity in this generation and next.
Boulder prides itself on being a progressive city, and over the years residents have consistently passed tax increases that support progressive values. Now is the time for us to put our money back where our values lie: “Yes” to 6C to fund our libraries.
“No” to the city Question 2F
No decision on this year’s election is made easy. But 2F is particularly complex. A “yes” vote will overturn the annexation agreement that the city and CU reached last year. This incredibly thorough agreement has been negotiated for years and will allow the university to begin construction of its south campus. But it will also allow the city to begin implementing long-overdue flood defenses and will provide the city with 119 acres of new open space.
The annexation agreement is certainly not perfect. But that is the nature of compromise. No one wins, but everyone gets a little of what they need. And what we need – and what this deal gives us – is flood protection.
This is clearly a time when ‘no’ means ‘yes’. Vote “no” to ballot question 2F this November. We can keep delaying flood control, but we cannot delay the next flood.
“Yes” to city question 2E
The difference in turnout between even- and odd-year elections is stark. County data shows that the city of Boulder will have about 30,000 fewer eligible voters voting in 2021 than it did in 2020. In a city of 108,000 people, that’s a huge drop.
If we truly believe that democracy is a collective form of governance, then these – 30,000 unheard votes – should be enough to make Voting 2E a necessity.
Postponing our local elections to even years won’t settle everything. Too many eligible voters will continue not to vote for reasons we must continue to address. And when the ballots get too long, a down vote occurs. But the fact of the matter is that more people will vote. Voter turnout will increase. And our local representation will better reflect our community. At 2E, vote yes.
Yes to City Issues 2A and 2B
City Ballot Issues 2A and 2B are investments in our community future. Issue 2A is a new climate tax that would replace two existing taxes: the climate protection plan tax, which has been in effect since 2006, and the business tax, both of which are energy taxes and are levied on invoices from Xcel energy customers. Issuance 2B, which is conditional on the passage of 2A, allows the city to issue $52.9 million in bonds to be repaid by taxes collected by 2A.
Let’s work to create a more resilient city, ready to meet the challenges of a changing climate, by voting “yes” on Boulder Questions 2A and 2B to invest in our future.
“Yes” to district measures 1A, 1B and 1C
It’s no small favor to ask a municipality to approve a new tax — and there are plenty of taxes on this year’s vote. But some taxes — like Boulder County’s three measures that will be up for a vote in November — are essential to protecting our community and enabling all to thrive.
County Issue 1A would introduce a 0.1% sales and use tax to fund efforts to contain wildfires. County Issue 1B would introduce a similar sales and use tax of 0.1% to fund our county’s emergency response. Finally, County Issue 1C is the extension of the existing 0.1% sales and use tax for transportation.
The benefits of these measures far outweigh the burden of their costs. Rather, they serve as beautiful examples of how taxes can and should work: Everyone pays a little so that the community can have a lot together. A 0.1% sales tax isn’t going to hollow anyone out. It’s still one cent for every $10 spent. But if everyone does their part, it will generate millions in funding for these vital projects each year.
As the climate keeps changing and Boulder County keeps growing, these taxes—wildfirefighting, emergency medical services, and ongoing transportation funding—are necessary. Vote Yes on District Affairs 1A, 1B, and 1C so we can share the burden of protecting and improving our community.
“Yes” to Issue 5A
The BVSD’s measure, Vote Issue 5A, will raise property taxes for homeowners across the district to allow the district to raise $350 million in bonds. A $600,000 home would pay about $9.83 a month.
The funds will go to a variety of “critical” projects, including $36 million for a new building for New Vista High School in Boulder, a $41 million new school to alleviate overcrowding at Erie’s Meadowlark School and approximately $44.5 million to support expanded career and technical education offerings in middle and high schools.
Funding for these district-wide improvements is imperative for two reasons. The first is that our public school district must be able to compete with online schools, private schools, and open enrollment in other districts. Our public schools meet the needs of the vast majority of students, but when enrollment falls and funding falls, the remaining students may suffer.
The BVSD tax hike may seem high, but an investment in our students is an investment in our future.
“Yes” on Colorado Prop 123
Colorado is facing a housing crisis — both in terms of availability and cost. The state’s housing project initiative, Proposal 123, is a necessary step to alleviate this housing shortage.
The bill, big as it is, is a drop in the bucket. Annual sales of $300 million are expected to only create about 10,000 new affordable units per year, meaning it will be years before we feel a significant impact and about 15 years before our current crisis is resolved.
But while Proposition 123 is not a quick fix, Colorado is in a crisis and we cannot stand by and watch. Too many of our neighbors are burdened by the cost of rent, and too many who contribute to our community cannot even afford to live in our community. Much remains to be done to make our society a fairer place for all, and while Proposition 123 is not without flaws, it is a start. It will provide much-needed funds to cities and communities across the state so we can begin the work needed to ensure all of our neighbors have homes they can afford.
Prop FF is commendable, but the structure deserves concern
No child should ever be hungry. Colorado Proposition FF, the Healthy School Meals for All program, would provide free school lunches to all public school students in the state. Unfortunately, the structure and funding mechanism give us serious pause and prevent us from supporting either a “yes” or a “no” vote.
Simply put, there is nothing wrong with doing whatever it takes to feed our children. But not every program designed to do this is perfect. For us, Proposition FF’s imperfections are enough to deter us from supporting this particular effort. However, we cannot in good conscience recommend voting “no” either.
Whether or not you agree with us on these issues, we encourage you to cast your vote. Make your voice heard. Make your contribution to our democracy. Choose the future you believe in.
— Gary Garrison for the editor