Colorado Health Foundation aims to educate voters on down-ballot issues
Ballots are arriving in Colorado mailboxes and the language within can vary depending on jurisdictional lines.
While keeping up with what’s on the local ballots can get confusing, there is help at hand.
The Colorado Health Foundation has launched a Local Ballot Measure Tracker to help voters understand their ballots no matter where they are in the state.
Kyle Rojas Legleiter, Senior Director of Policy Advocacy at The Colorado Health Foundation, tells Shannon Young that it's important voters understand not just the state-wide races and ballot issues, but also all the local measures as well.
"Once you go move further down the ballot, you could have lots of additional questions or a few additional questions depending on the specific lines and boundaries that you happen to live in, and that can vary quite a bit," he said.
"And we here at the Colorado Health Foundation believe that all of these questions are actually really important. They ultimately impact what quality of life looks like in the community that you call home, not just now in 2022, but potentially for years or generations to come."
In addition to the state-wide races like Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Governor, there are 11 state-wide ballot measures and hundreds of different local issues facing voters across the state.
Rojas Legleiter says the ballot tracker tool allows voters to search by specific topic.
"This year, when we did that sorting, the things that we labeled as tax reform questions are the most common ones heading before voters and local jurisdictions across the state," he said.
There are 35 different measures related to tax reform appearing before voters in different communities in Colorado, ranging from local tax increases or changes to tax policies.
Earlier this year the Colorado Health Foundation put out its annual Pulse Poll which identified some of the top areas of concern for voters which Rojas Legleiter says helped inform the development of the tracker.
"It helped us to sort these hundreds of different local ballot measure questions into categories and, sort of sort this information in ways that we believe is how people are thinking about what are top concerns in the communities that they live in directly, but then also the state more generally," he said.
"And the thing that we heard overwhelmingly this year in this year's poll, is that 86% of people in Colorado are very concerned about the affordability of housing in our state."
Rojas Legleiter says there are 23 housing related measures on ballots around the state.
"Different local-level measures related to housing policy in some shape or form appearing before local voters here in Colorado this year. In some cases the specific question is about regulation of short term rental properties as an example, but in other cases it's about the rights of renters compared to landlords, or to fund the construction of specific housing projects to create more housing supply and communities where there may not be enough housing to go around," he said.
The tracker also highlights the different routes that measures take to ultimately get on the ballot.
One is through citizen-led initiatives, and the other is through government action, where a body like a local council places a measure before voters.
"The breakdown in 2022 is about nine out of 10 of the local ballot measures appearing before people were questions that your city council, your county commissioner, some other government entity is asking you as voters that they serve to decide directly on this policy question. And it's only 9% of the local ballot measures that are going to appear before people that actually made their way onto the ballot because they were initiated outside of government structures by citizens themselves," said Rojas Legleiter.
This story from KGNU was shared with Aspen Public Radio via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico including Aspen Public Radio.