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2020 Election

The Aspen Public Radio Newsroom has chosen to focus on four specific issues for our election coverage: the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice/representation, climate change and land use/management.

These issues were among the most important to voters, according to a Pew Research poll in August 2020. We also chose them because they are important to people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley. That’s especially true as many have seen the economy, and their livelihoods, take a hit because of the pandemic, the growing Latino population in the region hasn’t had someone from their community holding a countywide governmental office, wildfires have been ferocious this season in the state, and the oil and gas industry employs many people.

Our central question while reporting this series was “What Can I Expect From My Government?” We set out to find a diverse group of people who could tell us their answers to that question.

Our election series is scheduled for Oct. 20-23. You'll be able to hear the stories during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. All our content will also be available here. 

Many of the other stories you’ll find here are from our reporting partners. We wanted to provide information about Colorado's key ballot initiatives and races, and also share details about how you can take part in this historic election year.

Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

You can find an English-language version of this story here.

 

A menos de dos semanas del día de la elección, muchos en Colorado están enfocándose en un grupo creciente de votantes latinos que podrían ser una gran parte de la decisión del resultado. Según el Centro de Investigación Pew, los votantes latinos son el mayor grupo demográfico de votantes no blancos este año, constituyendo el 16% de los votantes de Colorado en 2018. Y sin embargo, los latinos han estado históricamente subrepresentados en los cargos políticos en los valles del Roaring Fork y del Río Colorado.

Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

 

With election day less than two weeks away, many in Colorado are looking to a growing group of Latino voters who could be a big part of deciding the outcome. According to the Pew Research Center, Latino voters are the largest non-white voting demographic this year, making up 16% of Colorado voters in 2018. And yet, Latinos have been historically underrepresented in political office in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys.

Courtesy Lindsay Jones

Before the pandemic, freelancers accounted for about a quarter of the workforce, and that number has only grown since COVID-19 hit. Millions more have joined the gig economy this year as employers have shed part and full-time positions—over a third of American workers now say they’re part of the gig economy. Some economists say that within 10 years, half the American workforce will be freelance workers.

So, what do freelancers in the Roaring Fork Valley think about this year’s election?

Courtesy Lindsay Jones

You can find an English language version of this story here.

Antes de la pandemia, los trabajadores independientes representaban alrededor de un cuarto de la fuerza de trabajo, y ese número sólo ha crecido desde el golpe de COVID-19. Millones de personas más se han unido a la economía del contratismo (gig economy) este año, ya que los empleadores han eliminado puestos de trabajo de tiempo parcial y de tiempo completo - más de un tercio de los trabajadores estadounidenses ahora dicen que son parte de esta economía. Algunos economistas dicen que dentro de 10 años, la mitad de la fuerza laboral en los Estados Unidos serán trabajadores independientes.

Entonces, ¿qué piensan los freelancers del Valle de Roaring Fork sobre las elecciones de este año? La diseñadora gráfica e ilustradora local Lindsay Jones habló con Aspen Public Radio sobre sus pensamientos antes de emitir su voto en noviembre durante la  primera parte de nuestra serie electoral: "¿Qué puedo esperar de mi gobierno?"

Voters in Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District have the choice of two very different candidates to represent them in Congress. The race is a clash between a young, political newcomer aligned with President Trump and a veteran state lawmaker who believes in pragmatism over polarization.

At 70, former state lawmaker Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, is more than twice as old as Lauren Boebert, 33.

"American Money" by 401(K) 2013 / Licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0.

Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush outraised her Republican rival for the 3rd Congressional race, new finance reports show, another sign Democrats are looking for an upset.

 

Mitsch Bush, a former state lawmaker, raised $2.6 million from July 1 through the end of September, according to figures filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Republican Lauren Boebert raised $1.9 million, her campaign said.

In their final U.S. Senate debate, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and former Gov. John Hickenlooper clashed again over ethics, health care and the nation’s response to the coronavirus. But the candidates did not cover too much new ground in Fort Collins.

In one of their more heated exchanges, Gardner and Hickenlooper presented voters with very different views on environmental policy. Hickenlooper said he supports the country’s push to replace coal jobs with new ones promoting renewable energy.

Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage

Giuliana Day says the 22nd week of a woman’s pregnancy is an important milestone.

“That is over five months into the pregnancy when a baby is fully formed and is a fully alive human being, and we treat them like a human being,” Day said.

It’s also when Day says a fetus can survive outside the womb. Its why she says she is leading an effort to stop abortions after this phase unless the mother’s life is at risk because of her pregnancy. Day’s effort to get Proposition 115 on the ballot was boosted by several Catholic churches, which helped circulate petitions.

Voters will receive the 2020 Blue Book in the mail, along with their ballots for the Nov. 3 election.
Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

U.S. Senate
Republican: Cory Gardner (incumbent)
Democrat: John Hickenlooper

U.S. House
Republican: Lauren Boebert
Democrat: Diane Mitsch Bush

State Senate District 8
Republican: Bob Rankin (incumbent)
Democrat: Karl Hanlon

Voces Unidas de las Montañas

You can find an English-language version of this story here.

Todos los votantes registrados en Colorado recibirán por correo el “libro azul” oficial.  La guía bipartidista se usa para ayudarle a los votantes a descifrar los problemas complejos y a veces confusos de la papeleta.  Pero si su primer idioma es el español puede ser que no corra con suerte.

Voces Unidas de las Montañas

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui

 

All registered voters in Colorado will receive an official “blue book” in the mail. The bipartisan guide is used to help voters decipher complex and sometimes confusing ballot issues. But if your first language is Spanish, you may be out of luck. 

Colorado voters got their first chance to see their U.S. Senate candidates face off in a debate Friday night, and the attacks started flying seconds after it started.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner entered the debate in Pueblo as an underdog trailing in every poll. He repeatedly attacked his Democratic opponent, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, for being fined by a state board for accepting free flights and other gifts in violation of Colorado’s ethics codes.

“You violated the (state) constitution, John,” Gardner said.

Of the 11 ballot questions Colorado voters will decide in November, Amendment B is by far the most complicated. It seeks to repeal a 38-year-old state law affecting how much residents must pay in property taxes.

If you own a home or commercial property, your bank account has been affected by the Gallagher Amendment in some way. Voters approved the amendment in 1982 to put more of the property tax burden on businesses, which must pay 55% of the state’s property taxes. Meanwhile, homeowners pay 45%.

Democrats at the state Capitol have tried for several years to create a paid family and medical leave program, but concerns from small businesses and Gov. Jared Polis have kept it from becoming law.

Now the political battle is moving from the state Capitol to the ballot box, where voters will have the final say.

Kris Garcia, who has spent more than a decade advocating for stronger paid leave benefits, is attending virtual rallies and sharing his story about what life is like without family and medical leave programs.

Pitkin County ballot box
Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, but registered voters in Colorado will receive mail-in ballots after Oct. 9. With national concern about the integrity of mail-in ballots, Colorado is getting national attention for its system. Colorado began statewide vote by mail in 2013, although some counties adopted mail ballots before that.

USPS

The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to give Colorado the ability to review national media related to voting procedures and processes ahead of the November election to prevent future voter confusion as part of a settlement with the state. The Postal Service will also destroy remaining mailers that a federal judge previously banned the Postal Service from sending to voters in Colorado. 

Dan Thompson says he has seen wolves at their best, and their worst.

As the big carnivore supervisor for Wyoming Fish and Game, Thompson has gotten to step within a few feet of a wolf after biologists prepared to tranquilize the animal in a trap.

“Just to see that yellow in the eyes and that little bark and howl, I mean, it kind of penetrates your soul quite honestly,” Thompson said last month from his home in Lander, Wyoming.

But on the flip side, Thompson says he has seen a more unflattering side of wolves.

"Ballot Box" by wtfcolorado is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Denver judge has rejected a lawsuit that tried to delay the distribution of the state voting guide known as the blue book.

State Rep. Jeni Arndt joined a very exclusive club in the world of Colorado politics last year when one of her bills became so controversial, it triggered the first statewide referendum since 1932.

“I got a lot of feedback (on the bill) … some death threats,” Arndt said of her bill to put Colorado in the National Popular Vote Compact, a growing group of states that want to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes nationwide.

Hayden Cleverly

 

Valley resident Hayden Cleverly recently launched a new brand called Democrastreet Wear, or “DEMSW” for short. It includes items like swimsuits that say “Nasty Voter” and coffee mugs printed with “Voting is Sexy.”

Updated 7:50 p.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced he will suspend the controversial changes he instituted to the U.S. Postal Service until after the November election.

"To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy said in a statement.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said Monday he is considering taking legal action against the Trump administration to prevent cuts to the U.S. Postal Service that might threaten mail-in voting in November.

Weiser’s threat comes days after Trump said he opposed providing billions of dollars of emergency funding to the USPS during the pandemic because he does not want the money to be used to expand voting by mail.

Some top Democrats in Colorado, including Secretary of State Jena Griswold, are accusing Trump of trying to suppress voters by opposing the extra funding.