Is there Enough Political Oxygen for Colorado’s Ballot Issues?

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Dominic Dezzutti By Dominic Dezzutti
CBSDenver.com Blogger
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A few months ago, the threat of eleven anti-fracking ballot issues gave the impression that ballot initiatives would suck a lot of the oxygen out of room during the 2014 election.

But a few things happened on the way to the ballot, and at this point, many wonder if there will be enough oxygen in the room to keep any of the remaining few ballot issues relevant.

All of the fracking related issues are off the 2014 ballot, leaving an odd batch of unrelated issues to fight for voters’ attention.

The Personhood amendment is back with no major changes to the wording of the same ballot proposals that have lost handily in the last few elections.

A proposal to allow increased gaming at horse racetracks in Colorado and send proceeds to boost K-12 education has also made the ballot.

Two more initiatives turned in enough signatures to assume that they will likely qualify for the ballot as well.

The proponents behind a measure that would mandate labeling of genetically modified food turned in nearly twice as many signatures needed to qualify.

And finally, the proposal that should make it an even four issues on the ballot would require school boards to hold public meetings during any collective bargaining negotiations.

While some of these will inspire some decent sparring, nothing will compare to the attention and fighting that the fracking issues would have created.

In a normal year where Colorado was not playing host to two different races that are on the list of some of the most competitive and important in the nation, perhaps they would create a bigger fuss.

But I think it is going to be hard for the campaigns, both in favor and against, to generate the kind of momentum needed to create a groundswell of support for their side.

Not only have the campaigns for U.S. Senate, Governor and the 6th Congressional District already purchased a great deal of air time, but the other statewide races for Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State are trying to do the same.

The GMO Food Labeling Act should be the one that may actually tap into some of the energy left behind from the departure of the Fracking regulation issues. Environmentalists will be looking for an outlet and this issue might just be the right fit.

It’s also an issue that has inspired big time fights from the agriculture industry in other states. Millions were spent to fight a similar proposal in California and a similar proposal will likely make the ballot in Oregon.

But at the end of the day, with only four, very different initiatives making the Colorado ballot, will there be enough time and opportunity to attract voters?

It does not look like a friendly atmosphere at this point, and we have nearly 100 days to find out.

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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