By Jasmine Holan
The United States has a representative democracy—meaning we elect people to represent us in running the government. If fewer and fewer of us vote, we get less and less representation of the will of the people—and a less accurate reflection of the biggest check on power our forefathers gave us, We the People. In today’s political environment, overcoming monied interests and gerrymandered districts feels frustrating, but each vote truly matters now more than ever.
If you are registered to vote in Boulder County, consider yourself lucky. We enjoy online voter registration, an award-winning mail ballot election system, and we’re a state with less gerrymandering than most.
What Does Money Have to Do With It?
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, there have been more than $33,000,000 registered donations in Colorado’s 2017-2018 election cycle. Tens of millions of dollars spent to win influence with our elected officials. While that’s a big number, it only ranks 20th among the 50 states. Money is deeply imbedded in our politics, but it doesn’t have to be. We the People do not have to accept the current way of doing business in Washington, D.C., or even our State House. The only way to change current practices is to vote in people who will address this corrupting influence.
The Impact of Gerrymandering
Gerrymandering is when elected officials pick their constituents rather than constituents picking their representation. They do this by re-drawing district maps that determine voting blocks to favor a political party. Here’s some current good news for Coloradans. According to the Denver Post, this November Colorado voters will be asked to vote on two ballot measures that would overhaul the state’s redistricting process and seek to prevent partisan gerrymandering. These measures were led by the State Senate leader (a Republican) and the State House leader (a Democrat). Encouraging, indeed.
What Are Mid-Term Elections All About?
The mid-term elections focus on State level executive offices including Governor, Attorney General, Secretary-of-State, and Treasurer. Some would argue these races, along with State House elections, affect Coloradans even more than the federally focused ones. The new districting maps will be decided by those elected into office this cycle, making them even more significant in regards to eliminating gerrymandering advantages for either party.
The Boulder County Elections website is https://www.bouldercounty.org/elections. It has a wealth of information including online voter registration, ballot viewing with candidates after Sept 15, dates and places for ballot receiving or voting in person, and sign-up for ballot tracking.
Did you know in Colorado you can register on the day of the election and still cast a valid ballot if you meet the eligibility requirements? Those requirements can be found on the website, too.
Ballots should arrive in the mail by October 15 and need to be mailed back with time to arrive by Tuesday, November 6, or dropped off at a designated location by that date. Remember: the postmark date does not count as arrived, so allow plenty of time if using the U.S. Mail.
Please vote in the upcoming election. Democracy depends on it.