Buried under an absentee ballot | VailDaily.com

Buried under an absentee ballot

John Hannon

I read some good advice a short time ago that said obtaining an absentee ballot might be a better way to go than showing up at the polls on election day. Part of the reason had to do with the great number of items on the agenda this year.

I didn’t know just how good that advice was until I got involved in filling out the absentee ballot that was sent to me. I applied for this ballot last month.

With an, “analysis of the 2006 ballot proposals,” a booklet sent to registered voters by the State of Colorado by my side, a few clippings about the candidates seeking re-election, and a mental picture of those beautiful roadside signs I sat down to vote at the dining room table.

And hour and forty-five minutes later I filled in my last oval of choice and struggled upstairs for a short and well-needed nap. Had I waited to vote on Election Day I’m not sure I would’ve survived the experience. For you folks intending to vote in person, I would suggest that you bring a hamper full of food and a sleeping bag when you go to vote.

Even if you have done your homework with the booklet mentioned above, it is unlikely you will remember all the choices on which you decided. The referendums and amendments are written in lawyer speak. While not a foreign language, legalese does come close to being just that.

No. 1 on my ballot, designed as Referendum 1A, has to do with, “providing and improving the quality, availability and affordability of early childhood services and facilities such as: Early child care and learning, social-emotional development, access to affordable health care, family support and development.”

I wrestled with Referendum 1A for quite some time before making my yes or no choice. At first glance it would seem that all four items would be taken care of properly in the home by mom and dad. However, if they aren’t getting the job done for whatever reasons then their kids have a right to receive such services and facilities from society and financed by taxes. I hope the right choice is made on this one.

Let’s move on to the next part called, Court of Appeals. Got lotsa help on this one. It seems as though there is a State Commission on Judicial Performance, aptly referred to in the booklet as “Judges.” A short biography of sorts gives you a summary of the educational background, professional experience and perceived strengths and weaknesses of the five Colorado Court of Appeals judges.

While you get what should be enough information to make a decision on the judges, you need no information on five out of seven candidates for the Eagle County Offices of Clerk and Recorder, Treasurer, Assessor, Surveyor and Coroner, as all are running unopposed.

The Congressional and State offices bring in the heavy hitters featuring pre-election debates, extensive media coverage, paid ads and of course, the roadside art work. We’ve always been subject to a certain amount of the hoopla. But with today’s technologies, campaigns have burgeoned to fantastic productions with all sorts of technical advisors to reach epic proportions.

And let’s not forget good old Referendum I, the Colorado Domestic Partnerships Benefits and Responsibilities Act. As I’ve said before, I don’t see any reason for legislation in this area. If two people of the same sex want to live together, that’s their choice. I don’t think any sort of legal sanctification is necessary.

Say goodnight to the folks, Gracie. VT

John Hannon is an Eagle resident and a regular columnist for The Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to editor@vailtrail.com

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