Our view: Vote no on 67 and 68
October 2, 2014
The ballot for this year's election is relatively sparse by Colorado standards. Nevertheless, a few issues will confront voters in addition to the midterm political races. Here's our take on two of them.
Maybe the 10th time will be a charm. Well, not really, but this will be the third time in recent years a measure such as this has landed on Colorado's ballot. In both 2008 and 2010 voters rejected the amendments by a margin of more than 70 percent.
One might wonder what makes proponents of these so-called "personhood" amendments think they will succeed this time. The truth is many of them probably harbor no such illusions. Amendment 67 is just as likely as its recent predecessors to meet the same fate.
What some backers are hoping for is that its presence on the ballot will attract enough conservative voters to tip the scales in close statewide races. The gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races come to mind. In both cases, a percentage point or two might make the difference.
The theory is the abortion issue is a surefire way of attracting voters who are predisposed to voting for the conservatives in those two races, and since they'll be casting ballots in favor of Amendment 67 anyway, perhaps along the way they'll toss some votes toward the conservatives in close statewide races.
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Be that as it may, on its merits — or, more precisely, its lack thereof — Amendment 67 deserves to go down in flames.
It would effectively ban all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is in jeopardy. It would also restrict access to some forms of contraception.
The amendment would expand the legal definition of "person" to encompass "unborn human being," which would remain undefined, raising the specter that for legal purposes a "person" is created at the moment of conception.
While there are those who can take a principled stand and vote for this radical measure in good conscience, they are obviously very much in the minority in Colorado. But that shouldn't stop those who oppose Amendment 67 from casting ballots. That sort of complacency is precisely what its disingenuous proponents are counting on.
Here we go again. The Colorado airwaves are filled with the smarmy call to arms of those championing an otherwise baseless proposal: "Do it for the children."
Amendment 68 asks Colorado voters to turn a blind eye to how ludicrous it is by trying to bribe them into passing it with the promise of more than $100 million annually in funding for schools, none which, by the way, is guaranteed to see its way into Colorado classrooms.
In a nutshell the amendment would enshrine in the Colorado Constitution the monopoly status of one casino in the Denver metro area with the possibility of two more in the state — one in Pueblo County and one in Mesa County — all at existing horse-racing tracks.
For starters, the Colorado Constitution is no place to erect a legal edifice for the benefit of one company, an out of state one at that. Once there, it is extremely difficult to remove or amend.
Secondly, the metro-area horse track in question, Arapahoe Park, is owned by a Rhode Island company that is desperately casting about for new revenues since operations in its home state are being undermined by newly approved casinos in Massachusetts. But wait, they say, look at all the jobs and … uh … all the money. For the kids.
What they don't say is how much of that money will come out of the hides of existing casinos and workers in Colorado mountain towns. Nor do they dwell on the well-documented downside of legalized gambling — namely that more than a few children will go hungry because mom or dad blew their last paycheck on a long shot.
This one's simple. Keep this nonsense out of the Colorado Constitution. If not for the state's well-being, do it for the children.