Colorado Voters Becoming Guinea Pigs for National Interests

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Mail-in ballots from Larimer County (credit: CBS)

Mail-in ballots from Larimer County (credit: CBS)

Dominic Dezzutti By Dominic Dezzutti
CBSDenver.com Blogger
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Even before the 2014 Legislative session started, Colorado’s November ballot had plenty of potential initiatives. It seems though, that plenty may not be nearly enough.

We are already hearing about new potential ballot issues that may find their way to the November ballot. Some are a long shot at best to even qualify for November’s election, but just the fact that people are talking about it at this stage in the game shows how attractive the Colorado ballot is for national groups.

The most recent group looking to strike gold with Colorado voters is a group out of California called Kids Against Divorce. The organization is proposing a ballot issue that would mandate at least 10 hours of classes for anyone who wants to get married in Colorado.

The organization plans to propose the bill around the nation, but the state they are trying first to succeed in is Colorado.

So what is it about Colorado that attracts such ideas? It’s our voters. We have an independent streak a mile high and a mile long and that makes us a great test market for national campaigns.

We’re just enough progressive to legalize marijuana and we’re just enough conservative to pass the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

We are also an influential state, especially among our fellow western states. If a campaign can find success in Colorado, it may be able to find even greater success across the country.

If we were not influential, if our votes did not matter, national ideas or national money would not come to our elections, but as we all know, the opposite is true.

In fact, in each election cycle we seem to reach new heights of campaign spending, thanks to the influence of national funds. We are not going to break that streak anytime soon.

Some of the issues that bring national interests and money are genuinely Coloradan, like Fracking and Gun Control. However, Kids Against Divorce is bringing a unique issue to Colorado to see if the same unpredictable voters will give it a try.

Even though we are unpredictable, I cannot imagine that Colorado voters are looking to give ourselves more rules for anything in our personal lives. But that libertarian spirit isn’t scaring off Kids Against Divorce and certainly will not scare off others hoping to use Colorado as a launching pad for their particular issue.

As long as Colorado voters continue to vote independently, we will be a target for these campaigns. That can be aggravating once the airwaves are taken over by incessant campaign ads, but that is what we get for being free-thinking voters.

In a weird way, it’s a compliment to the Centennial State that these national interests show up and make our opinions so vital to their success. But it would be nice to see more ideas pass the common sense test before we see them on our ballot.

Dominic Dezzutti’s Latest Blog Entries

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.

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