For this edition of “Pat on Patrol,” Pat tracks down informed local voters to see what measures on this year’s ballot have made an impact on them, either through how that measure will affect them, which they are pulling for, or which they still have questions about.  

So, Pat asked, “You have reviewed the four amendments and seven propositions from the state ballot information booklet recently mailed out, commonly referred to as the “Blue Book.” The county also put out an information sheet on 1A, our one local referendum. Out of all of these, did any one measure in particular stand out to you?”

CAROL COMETTO

The local one, Referendum 1A, interests me. For one thing, it doesn’t raise our taxes in any way. The way I read it, this just lets us keep an excess of sales taxes collected back in 2017, an excess amounting to around $2.9 million dollars which the commissioners have held in escrow since then.

If it doesn’t pass, we’ll have to hand it over to the state general fund and we’ll never see it again. If it passes, the county will be able to fund community organizations like Noah’s Ark, which is a very worthy non-profit. I know they haven’t had the funds to do this in the past although many animals come from and are adopted by people who live in the county. I have a particular passion for Noah’s Ark, having adopted dogs from there in the past.  

KEVIN & LINDA COX

I remember when I first learned about our government in junior high civics class. Most of what I learned made sense — three branches of government, separation of powers, etc. But when it came to learning about the Electoral College, my reaction was, “What!?” I had previously been led to believe that our president was elected by the will of the majority, and that every vote counts towards that end. And then I learned that there was this archaic, clunky process stuck in the middle of the vote tallying effort that has resulted in our president being elected to office by a minority of voters.

In this election, we have the opportunity to begin to change this defect. My wife Linda and I are voting for Proposition 113, which enters Colorado into a pact with 14 other states and the District of Columbia to eventually eliminate the inequities of this system. Unfortunately, it does not do this right away, but when enough states agree to this — the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact — then it will happen.

I hope everyone will vote for Proposition 113 so that, hopefully, by 2024 the president and vice-president will be elected by a majority of Americans — as it should be.

MARK JOHNSTONE

This year the ballot is filled with several very important amendments and propositions, which have ramifications for all Colorado residents. But the local Referendum 1A is the most significant for Las Animas County, because it alone has the power to directly return tax dollars to projects and services for its citizens. That is the one measure that should stand above all others for local voters.

JOANIE MUZZLIN

Amendment C concerning “Conduct of Public Gaming” caught my attention. Usually I don’t vote “yes” on measures to expand gambling, but I think the changes outlined in Amendment C would really help our local non-profit organizations and our local economy.  

Trinidad’s non-profits rely so heavily on their volunteers’ generous efforts. Allowing bingo or raffle game helpers to be paid a small wage could attract new people to get involved with local non-profit organizations, especially young people looking for a little paid part-time work. It would also free up time for the volunteers to concentrate on the work of their non-profit, whatever that might be.  

GINA RAYE  

I plan to vote in favor for our local referendum 1A where we will be able to keep the money we collected back in 2017, money that is rightfully ours to keep. It is important that we receive what was due us; after all, it was collected from our county’s sales tax, but the state believes a large portion of that should go back to the state’s general fund.

If that happens, we’ll never see it benefit us. It is crucial that we keep the money in our local coffers rather than the states. Las Animas County collected it and Las Animas County should be allowed to keep it.

I hope voters understand voting in favor of this referendum does not mean their taxes will go up.

JOHN RAYE  

I was pleased to see Proposition 113 on the ballot and plan to vote in favor of having a national popular vote rather than the Electoral College to elect the president. Many are not sure what the Electoral College even is. From what I know, it goes back to when the country had a sparse, remote, and rural population. So to equalize representation, smaller locales were give consideration just as much as the more populated areas. That’s not the case anymore and it does not represent everyone today.

Having the election decided by a popular vote would be much better. I have been hearing and then talking about the pros and cons of Electoral College vs. popular vote myself for years and am glad to see it finally appear on a ballot.

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