This evening I cast my votes in state and local elections (or at least they gave me one of those little "I Voted" stickers -- do those new computerized voting machines really work as designed?). For elected officials, two principles guided most of my choices: (1) vote against incumbents and (2) if no incumbent, vote for gridlock by splitting the ticket.
But the real fun came from all the initiatives and referenda on the Colorado ballot this year. Here again two principles guided most of my choices: (1) vote for economic and personal freedom and (2) make life more difficult for the political class (yes, call me a libertarian populist if you must). So I voted as follows:
Amendment 38: Petitions. YES. If we make it easier to get petitions on the ballot, the voice of the people shall be heard even if the political elites don't want to listen.
Amendment 39: School District Spending Requirements. YES. Sorry, school administrators, but as long as you're part of the political class, you'll have to pay the price. There's a simple solution: take the schools out of government hands and give the schools to the teachers.
Amendment 40: Term Limits for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges. YES. Sorry, judges, but you too are part of the political class. If term limits force you out of your current position, you can always find another job in another court, in electoral politics, in academia, or (gasp) in the market economy.
Amendment 41: Standards of Conduct in Government. YES. Here again we stick it to the political class. No one ever said it should be easy to feed at the public trough.
Amendment 42: Colorado Minimum Wage. NO. It's just wrong to legislate wages, especially since the result is that low-skilled workers (such as teenagers) are priced out of a job. But if we're going to raise the minimum wage, why stop at $6.85 an hour -- why not, say, $68.50 an hour? Now that's a living wage! :-)
Amendment 43: Marriage. YES. No this doesn't really belong in Article II of the Colorado Constitution, but I'm enough of a lexicographical conservative to hold that marriage means a particular legal relationship between a man and a woman (first citation in the Oxford English Dictionary: the year 1297). But see below on Referendum I.
Amendment 44: Marijuana Possession. YES. As Bob Marley said, legalize it!
Referendum E: Property Tax Deduction for Disabled Veterans. YES. This one wasn't clear cut for me, but it involves a tax reduction and my father's experience caring for disabled veterans makes me think that they deserve a break.
Referendum F: Recall Deadlines. NO. Why open the handling of recall elections up to legislative skullduggery?
Referendum G: Obsolete Constitutional Provisions. YES. It's good to keep our state constitution neat and tidy.
Referendum H: Limiting a State Business Income Tax Deduction. NO. Another close call, but in the end I decided that there's no good reason to burden small businesses with the government's problems regarding immigration. Shall we, say, reform the INS instead?
Referendum I: Domestic Partnerships. YES. No, it's not marriage, but I see no good reason why same-sex partners shouldn't have the privilege of entering into civil unions.
Referendum J: School District Spending Requirements. NO. This is the toothless version of Amendment 39, and it isn't hard enough on the political class for my taste.
Referendum K: Immigration Lawsuit Against Federal Government. YES. Sure it's tilting at windmills, but it annoys the federal government on the subject of immigration, which might just possibily lead to reform of the INS (though don't hold your breath).
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal