Colorado State Publications Blog

Fiscal Impacts of Ballot Measures

How will this year’s ballot measures affect state taxes and spending if passed? While much of this information is detailed in the Blue Book, the Colorado Legislative Council has also issued fiscal impact statements for each ballot measure. These statements include more detailed analysis of each measure’s fiscal impact, including tables and side-by-side comparisons of revenues and spending with or without passage of the measures. The fiscal impact statements are also available in Spanish.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Amendments Y and Z, Congressional and Legislative Redistricting

redistricting, reapportionment, Amendment Y, Amendment Z

Two of the amendments on this year’s ballot are Amendments Y and Z, which deal with how congressional and legislative districts, respectively, are determined. Every ten years, following the U.S. Census, both sets are redrawn to ensure that all districts include equal numbers of people.

Under the current system, the state legislature oversees the congressional redistricting, while the legislative districts are redrawn by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission. This commission includes eleven members who are all appointed by either the Legislature, the Governor, or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The new system proposed in Y and Z would instead create two new, independent commissions – with equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters – comprised of members who must not be elected officials, candidates, or lobbyists.

The Colorado Blue Book outlines arguments for and against the two proposals. You can also find out more about the current system and how it functions by visiting the State of Colorado’s official redistricting website, which includes resources on the processes for both congressional and legislative redistricting. On this website you can also find maps of the final approved districts. Finally, be sure to see A Citizen’s Guide to State House and Senate Redistricting, which outlines the process used in the most recent (2011) redistricting.

Colorado State Publications Blog

2018 Election Information

Election season has arrived! Ballots will be mailed started this Monday, October 15. This year’s ballot will be one of the longest ever. To help you decide on the many issues on the ballot, the State Publications Library has made the “Blue Book” available in a variety of formats to suit your needs. “Blue Books” are the state’s official ballot issue guides, prepared each election year by the non-partisan Colorado Legislative Council. Searchable PDFs of the Blue Book are available online in both English and Spanish. In addition, the Colorado Talking Book Library has recorded the entire Blue Book in audio format for voters who are visually impaired.

To find out more about the election and to access your voter registration information, visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. To see previous years’ Blue Books, visit our library’s Blue Book finding aid.

Colorado State Publications Blog

"U" Can Vote in the Primary

The Colorado primaries are coming in June, and for the first time, Unaffiliated voters can vote in primary elections. This is due to Proposition 108, which was passed by the voters in 2016. If you are an Unaffiliated voter, the most important thing to remember is that, although you will be mailed both ballots, you must choose either the Democratic or Republican ballot. If you return both, neither vote will be counted. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has been working to educate Unaffiliated voters about the new process with their UchooseCO campaign. At you can check your voter registration and read the FAQs about voting in the primary. You can also find out more in this recent press release from the Secretary of State’s Office.

One important point to keep in mind is that by voting in the primary, the ballot you choose will not be kept a secret. Your voter record will note – as public record – which party’s ballot you returned, as required by SB17-305. This does not, however, mean you will need to vote in that same party’s primary in the future, nor does it register you as a member of that party. In future primaries, you are free to choose to vote in the other party’s primary if you wish to do so.

Not sure who to vote for? For a complete list of candidates on the 2018 primary ballot, click here. This list includes links to the candidates’ websites where you can learn more about them. To find out which House and Senate districts you live in, go to the General Assembly’s Find My Legislator page.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Vote Against the Olympics

The 2018 winter games have come and gone, and once again Colorado’s leaders are looking to the future and hoping to get the Olympics to come to Colorado.  What many newcomers may not remember, however, is that Colorado was once awarded the Olympic games — and the people said no.
In 1970 the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1976 winter games to Colorado, which would have coincided with the centennial-bicentennial celebrations that would take place that year.  After being awarded the games, however, Coloradans started to examine the huge financial burden that the Olympics would create, along with concerns over its environmental impact.  Richard Lamm, who would later be elected governor, led the charge against the Olympics. Lamm was one of the major forces behind a 1972 ballot initiative which asked voters to decide on whether to amend the state constitution “to prohibit the state from levying taxes and appropriating or loaning funds for the purpose of aiding or furthering the 1976 Winter Olympic Games.”
To help voters prepare for the election, the Colorado Legislative Council issued — as it still does today — their statewide non-partisan ballot analysis book, or “Blue Book,” which included fiscal analysis along with lists of the pros and cons of each ballot measure. You can view the 1972 Blue Book online courtesy of our library. Among the arguments against the measure was a moral one: “the International Olympic Committee ha[s] every reason to rely on the state’s commitment to funding the Olympics. It would be very bad faith on the part of the state if it were to back out of its commitment.”  Arguments in favor of rejecting the Olympics, however, included the debt aspect and the state’s obligation to pay “unforeseen costs,” as well as the idea that “… national and international … publicity could further stimulate Colorado’s population growth, which is one of the highest in the nation. Unmanageable growth places an economic burden on a community that must expand facilities and services to meet the needs of new residents.”
59{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} of the voters agreed with these arguments.  According to the state’s official tabulation of votes, the measure passed with 514,228 “yes” votes to 350,964 “no” votes.  By prohibiting the state from collecting taxes to fund the Olympics, the passage of this measure made it impossible for the games to be held here.  Colorado was forced to reject the 1976 Olympics, which instead were awarded to Innsbruck, Austria.  Innsbruck had previously hosted the games in 1964, so they were able to re-use many of their facilities.

Bumper stickers for (top) and against (bottom) the 1976 Colorado Winter Olympics. Courtesy History Colorado
Colorado State Publications Blog

HOAs and Political Signs

Many homeowners wonder about their rights to display political signs if they are part of a homeowner’s association.  Many HOAs have rules about political signs in yards or, for condos, in windows.  This election season the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) offers the following advice:

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA), addresses this issue in Section 38-33.3-106.5, C.R.S., entitled “Prohibitions contrary to public policy – patriotic and political expression…”. A political sign is defined in this statute as “a sign that carries a message intended to influence the outcome of an election, including supporting or opposing the election of a candidate, the recall of a public official, or the passage of a ballot issue.”

In summary, this law states that notwithstanding any provision in the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of the association to the contrary, an association shall not prohibit the display of a political sign by the owner or occupant of a unit on property within the boundaries of the unit or in a window of the unit; however, the association may prohibit the display of political signs earlier than forty-five (45) days before the day of an election and later than seven (7) days after an election day.
DORA also notes that HOAs can regulate the size and number of signs, so be sure to check those out with your association, too.
For more help with understanding HOAs, visit DORA’s HOA Information and Resource Center.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: On the Ballot

Election day is quickly approaching and there are a number of important races and issues on this year’s ballot. (For nonpartisan analysis of the amendments and referenda on this year’s ballot, see the Colorado Legislative Council’s 2016 Blue Book.) The issues on a given years’ ballot offer insight on the values and priorities of Colorado citizens at a given time in our state’s history.  Here’s a look at initiatives and referenda in the past century, compiled using ballot analysis reports and official voter results:
10 Years Ago:
In 2006, issues being decided included domestic partnerships and the definition of marriage; marijuana possession; and whether to participate in an immigration lawsuit against the federal government.  Fiscal measures included school district spending requirements, property tax reduction for disabled veterans, and state business income tax deduction limits.  Similar to today, the 2006 ballot included measures on the minimum wage and the ease of amending the State Constitution.  Several government-focused issues also made the ballot, including judges’ term limits, “standards of conduct in government,” and recall deadlines.  For the results of this election, see the 2006 Abstract of Votes Cast.
20 Years Ago:
Issues on the 1996 ballot were a bit less controversial and included several natural resources issues, including state trust lands and “prohibited methods of taking wildlife.”  Perennial issues such as petitions, term limits, property tax exemptions, and campaign finance were again on the ballot.  Two interesting items up for decision included allowing limited gaming in Trinidad, and the definition of parental rights.  For the results of this election, see the 1996 Abstract of Votes Cast.
30 Years Ago:
In 1986 voters were asked to decide on a revamp of the State Personnel Board; county elected officials’ compensation; and home rule municipalities.  Also on the ballot was a measure similar to the future TABOR (passed in 1992) that would have required any new taxes or tax increases to go to the voters.  For the results of this election, see the 1986 Abstract of Votes Cast.
40 Years Ago:
There were many issues on the 1976 ballot, including exempting groceries from sales tax; returnable beverage container deposits; and repeal of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment.  For the results of this election, see the 1976 Abstract of Votes Cast.
50 Years Ago:
A half-century ago Colorado voters were asked to decide on two property taxation measures and several measures defining state government operations.  The two controversial issues on the 1966 ballot included providing for daylight savings time in Colorado, and the question of whether capital punishment should be abolished in the state.  (For a history of Capital Punishment in Colorado see this page from the Colorado State Public Defender’s website.)  For the results of this election, see the 1966 Abstract of Votes Cast.
60 Years Ago:
Issues on the 1956 ballot included term limits; taxes; civil service; apportionment of the general assembly; and old age pensions.  For the results of this election, see the 1956 abstract of votes cast.
70 Years Ago:
In 1946, voters decided on secret ballots and old age pensions.  (For a look at this issue, Old Age Pensions in Colorado, a 1948 publication from the University of Colorado, is available for checkout from our library.)  For the results of this election, see the 1946 Abstract of Votes Cast.
80 Years Ago:
Occurring in the midst of the Great Depression, the 1936 election had Colorado voters decide on whether women could serve on juries; whether to exempt churches, schools, and cemeteries from property taxes; whether there should be a vehicle ownership tax; and whether the State should provide public assistance for Coloradans with tuberculosis.  Also on the ballot were several income tax measures as well as provision of funds for old age pensions.  The realities of the Great Depression are evident from these public assistance and revenue-generating ballot issues.  For the results of this election, see the 1936 Abstract of Votes Cast.
90 Years Ago:
In the Roaring ’20s, as the rates of vehicle ownership were on the rise, voters in 1926 were asked to decide on several motor vehicle tax issues, including a gas tax and a tax on motor vehicle purchases.  Elected officials’ salaries, and laws regulating the practice of dentistry and the Public Utilities Commission were also on the ballot, as was a measure to allow the “manufacture, importation, and sale of intoxicating liquors in Colorado.”  (Colorado had gone dry in 1916, the 1926 Colorado measure failed, and Prohibition was repealed nationwide in 1933).  For the results of this election, see the 1926 Abstract of Votes Cast.
100 Years Ago:
In 1916, during the height of the Progressive Era in Colorado, voters decided on “providing humane care and treatment for all the insane;” “manufacture and sale of beer,” and an “amendment to apply the merit system to…civil service.”  Other ballot issues included taxation, public school funding, regulations for the practice of medicine, “running of stock at large,” and holding a constitutional convention.  For the results of this election, see the 1916 Abstract of Votes Cast.
For other years’ election issues and results, see our library’s Blue Book Finding Aid and the Colorado Secretary of State’s Election Results Archive.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Election Information

Election Day will soon be upon us.  This year, every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot.  Most voters should have received their ballot by now, or will in the next few days.  Ballots can be dropped off at ballot collection stations at any time.  However, polling places will still be open on election day for those who prefer to vote at a polling place.  Those choosing to vote in person will need to surrender their mail-in ballot at the polling place.  All polling places must be made accessible for those with disabilities.  You can learn more about accessibility requirements, including a video tutorial for polling administrators, at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Accessibility Resources webpage.

While the presidential race may be getting the most attention, there are many other races and issues on the ballot this year, which can affect the day-to-day lives of many Coloradans.  A list of all races, amendments, and propositions is available on the Colorado Secretary of State’s Election Information webpage.  Here you will also find registration and identification information, primary election results, fact sheets and FAQs, information on how to become an election judge, links to political party information, an overview of the electoral college process, and information for candidates.

Along with your mail-in ballot you should have received a copy of the 2016 Blue Book, a publication of the non-partisan Colorado Legislative Council which provides detailed analysis of ballot issues.  The Blue Book can help you make your decision by offering pros and cons for each amendment and proposition, as well as suggestions for retention of judges.  There are many issues to decide this year, including a statewide healthcare system (Amendment 69), state minimum wage (Amendment 70), requirements for initiated constitutional amendments (Amendment 71), new cigarette and tobacco taxes (Amendment 72), medical aid in dying (Proposition 106), presidential primary election (Proposition 107), other primary elections (Proposition 108), and for voters in the Denver Metropolitan Area, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (Issue 4B).  Counties and municipalities also have their own local issues on the ballot, so be sure to check with your city and/or county about local measures and races.  Statewide, there are U.S. House and Senate races, as well as races for all Colorado House of Representatives seats and most Senate seats, CU Regents, State Board of Education members, and more.  

Colorado State Publications Blog

Amending the Colorado Constitution

The presidential election may be getting all the attention, but this November is going to be a very significant ballot year in Colorado.  Already there are four initiatives approved for the ballot, and five others are pending approval from the Secretary of State, who tabulates the signatures received on petitions.

According to the Secretary of State’s recent press release, one of the issues approved to appear on the ballot this year is Initiative #96, which would make it harder to amend the State Constitution.  It would require that “any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least 2 percent of the registered electors in each of the 35 state Senate districts. The percentage of votes to pass any proposed constitutional amendment would be increased from a majority to at least 55 percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed amendment only repeals any provision of the constitution.”

The ease of amending the Colorado constitution has long been debated in political circles, and constitutional conventions have occasionally been proposed in recent years.  In our library you can find numerous resources regarding the amending of the state constitution, including some resources from earlier decades that still capture the issue as it stands today, and offer a history of Colorado’s constitutional amendments and attempts.  Selected resources from our library include:

See also our library’s Blue Book Finding Aid, which includes links to Colorado ballot proposal analysis booklets back to 1954.

To view the Colorado Constitution as it stands today, along with versions back to 2004, see the Colorado and United States Constitutions booklets from the Colorado Secretary of State. The following historical publications include copies of the state constitution as they stood in that respective year:

  • The Compiled Laws of Colorado, 1921

  • The Revised Statutes of Colorado, 1908
  • State of Colorado Legislative Manual 

Publications listed here that do not include URLs can be viewed in or checked out from our library.  As always, for more resources, search our library’s online catalog.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Time Machine Tuesday: Limited Gaming in Colorado

    In 1990 Colorado voters passed a law to allow limited gaming in three historic towns — Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek.  Gambling had been prohibited in Colorado in the 1876 Colorado Constitution.  Over the years, bingo and raffles, pari-mutuel (horse) betting and a state lottery were accepted into law, but casino-style gambling was outlawed in the state until 1990.  How did proponents sell gambling to voters?  By assuring citizens that 1) gaming would only be restricted to certain towns, not statewide and 2) a percentage gaming funds would go toward historic preservation in Colorado through the State Historical Fund, and to tourism promotion.  (Beginning with Amendment 50 in 2008, some of the gaming funds also go to community colleges).

    Two years later, limited gaming was again on Colorado’s ballot.  1992’s Amendment 3 would have, if passed, expanded gambling into Trinidad, Walsenburg, Naturita, Leadville, Silver Cliff, Lake City, Silverton, Oak Creek, Grand Lake, Walden, and Dinosaur, as well as the entire counties of Las Animas, Hinsdale, and Huerfano.  Further, Amendment 4, also on the ballot that year, would have legalized gambling in Burlington, Evans, Lamar, Las Animas, Sterling, Antonito, Garden City, Grenada, Holly, Julesburg, Ovid, Milliken, Peetz, and Sedgwick, along with the counties of Logan, Prowers, and Sedgwick.  Finally, Amendment 5 would have allowed gaming in the town of Parachute, while Amendment 9 would have allowed gaming in Lower Downtown Denver.  Funds from expanded gaming would go to various entities including public schools, tourism, and historic preservation.  All four amendments were soundly defeated — according to the official Abstract of Votes Cast (available for checkout from our library), the first three amendments were each defeated with an average of 400,000 yes votes and 1,000,000 no votes.  Amendment 9 was defeated by an even bigger margin — 292,961 for and 1,200,336 against.

    However, 1992 voters did approve a measure that required counties, cities, and towns to hold elections to approve gaming in their town before going to a statewide vote. 

    Limited gaming again appeared on the ballot in 1994, and was again defeated.  Amendment 13 would have expanded gaming to Manitou Springs and to public airports, while Amendment 14 would have legalized gambling in Trinidad.  According to the book Riches and Regrets:  Betting on Gambling in Two Colorado Mountain Towns (1996, University Press of Colorado), which is available for checkout from our library, numerous other states defeated gambling measures that year, suggesting national trends.

    You can read about the 1992 and 1994 amendments, including arguments for and against, in the official “Blue Books” for those years.  The Blue Books are available digitally from our library.  You can find other Blue Books (the state’s official non-partisan analysis of ballot issues) by searching our library’s Blue Book finding aid.  You can find more about gambling in Colorado from the Colorado Department of Revenue

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Colorado Caucus

    Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1, is caucus day in Colorado.  You can find information on the Colorado caucus, including eligibility, caucus locations, party contact information, and how to participate, by visiting the Colorado Secretary of State’s Caucus FAQs

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    2014 Election Information

    Election day is Tuesday, November 4 — just a week from tomorrow.  If you haven’t voted yet, now is the time to have your say in this important election, where Colorado will be deciding its next Governor; U.S. Senator; U.S. Representatives; Colorado Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer; all Colorado House seats; and many Colorado Senate seats; as well as several significant ballot issues, the retention of many of Colorado’s judges, and a number of local issues. 

    There is still time to make your voice heard this election.  For the first time, Colorado is allowing same-day registration — meaning you can register to vote on election day.  Also for the first time this year, all voting is by mail-in ballot.  (If you register too late to get a mail ballot, you can still vote at a polling location — see the Colorado Secretary of State’s page to find a polling place or to register online now).  For a summary of the new laws, as well as a calendar of important election-related dates, candidate information, and more, see the Colorado Secretary of State’s 2014 Election Information homepage.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Genetically Modified Foods

    One of the questions on this year’s ballot concerns whether or not food should be labeled to state whether it contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  For the pros and cons of Proposition 105, see this year’s Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book).  Two fact sheets from Colorado State University offer background on the issue.  See Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods from the CSU Extension, and A Risk Perception Analysis of Genetically Modified Foods Based on Stated Preferences from CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Gaming and Gambling in Colorado

    One of the ballot measures that voters will decide on this November is Amendment 68.  According to the State Ballot Information Booklet (or “Blue Book”),

    Amendment 68 proposes to amend the Colorado Constitution to:

    • Permit casino gambling at horse racetracks in Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo counties, limited to one racetrack in each county; and
    • distribute new casino tax revenue to K-12 public schools.

    In 1992 voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling in three cities — Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek.  (For a history of this initiative see the University Press of Colorado book Riches and Regrets:  Betting on Gambling in Two Colorado Mountain Towns, available for checkout from our library).  Proponents of Amendment 68 argue that it will provide consumers more choices and will benefit public schools with additional revenue.  Opponents argue that the three mountain communities will lose a vital part of their economy, and less money will go to the interests currently funded by casino revenues, including community colleges, historic preservation, and tourism promotion.  Refer to the Blue Book for a complete analysis of the pros and cons of Amendment 68. 

    You can find out more about gaming and gambling in Colorado by visiting the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming website.  Here you will find resources on licensing, laws and regulations, statistics, tribal casinos, problem gambling, tax filing for casinos, and more.  Also, be sure and check our library’s web catalog for additional resources.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Colorado 2014 Election Guide

    The results from the primaries are in, and Colorado’s 2014 election season is in full swing.  To find out more about this election, which includes some major races and ballot issues, check out the new Colorado 2014 Election Guide from the Colorado Legislative Council.  Here you can find important dates for voter registration; a list of statewide races; information on mail-in ballots; and more.  You can also find detailed information, including lists of all candidates, at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Elections & Voting page.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    New Legislation Regarding Recall Elections

    On Friday Legislators introduced a bill (SB14-158) to clean up language in Colorado statute regarding recall elections.  Last year, much controversy ensued over who could and could not vote in the recall elections being held for two State Senators.  The bill aims to clear up some of this confusion as well as expand the use of mail-in ballots for recalls.  For more last year’s recall elections see the post-election audits from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.  For more resources on recall elections, see our library’s previous blog post on this topic, dated September 10, 2013.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Recall Elections

    Today is the day that voters in two Colorado State Senate districts will decide whether or not they will recall their senator.  This is the first time the recall has been used for Colorado legislators.  You can read the Colorado Secretary of State’s rules for recalls here

    Recently there has been some news of disagreements over who can vote in the recalls, based on new voting legislation passed last session.  You can find out more about the new election laws on the Secretary of State’s website or by reading the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, HB13-1303, here

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Circulation of Petitions

    Right now, many people are out circulating petitions for November ballot initiatives.  If you’re one of them, be aware of the State’s rules for petition circulation.  The Secretary of State’s Office has a handy online training guide that all petitioners should read before hitting the streets.  The guide includes information on who may circulate petitions, compensation information, rules for who may sign the petition, and more.  Alternatively, if you’re the one being asked to sign a petition, read the Instructions for Petition Signers section of the guide before you sign anything.  This short section includes dos and don’ts for signers, how to correct mistakes, how to sign for a disabled voter, and more.  Finally, if you want to circulate or sign a petition but are not a registered voter, you can register to vote online

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Votes for Women

    It’s hard to believe that, as we went to the polls yesterday, it was not all that long ago that women did not have the right to vote.  It was on this day 119 years ago, November 7, 1893, that Colorado women were enfranchised.  (A few other states passed women suffrage laws, but women did not gain the right to vote across the nation until 1920.)  Colorado was only the second state, after Wyoming, to give women the right to vote.  Visit the Colorado State Archives website to see the original Legislative bill giving Colorado women the right to vote.  For more information on the women’s suffrage movement in Colorado, see articles in the July 1956, Winter 1964, and Winter 1967 issues of Colorado Magazine and the Spring 1993 issue of Colorado Heritage, all available from our library.  You can also read about several prominent Colorado suffragists — Molly Brown, Elizabeth Ensley, Ellis Meredith, and Minnie Scalabrino — at the Colorado State Library’s

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    The 1876 Presidential Election

    On this election day, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at one of the United States’ more interesting and controversial Presidential elections – and one in which Colorado had a direct hand in the outcome. 

    Colorado became a state just three months before election day, 1876.  That year, the Presidential race was between Rutherford B. Hayes, Republican, and Samuel J. Tilden, Democrat.  As a territory, Colorado had been entitled to one Territorial Delegate to sit in the House of Representatives; Delegates were allowed to sit on Committees and to take part in debate, but could not vote.  By 1874, Colorado leaned Republican, but a split in the party had resulted in Colorado’s leading Democrat, Thomas M. Patterson, being elected to the position of Delegate.  During his two-year term, Patterson lobbied hard for statehood.  Finally, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Colorado Enabling Act so that Colorado could indeed become the nation’s 38th state.  It was largely due to Delegate Patterson’s efforts.

    Part of the reason Patterson fought so strongly for statehood to occur that year was because he believed that, with Colorado’s Republican party fighting, Colorado would give its three electoral votes to the Democrats.  But here Patterson made his error.  Because Colorado became a state in August, and election day occurred in November, the new state did not have time to organize a Presidential election, so the Colorado legislature selected the state’s electors.  The Legislature was controlled by the Republicans at the time – so Colorado’s three electoral votes went to the Republicans.

    In one of the United States’ closest presidential elections, Rutherford B. Hayes won the race – but by only one electoral vote.  If Patterson had held off his lobbying for just a few more months, Colorado would not have been a state yet – and Samuel J. Tilden would have been President. 

    The election of 1876 was controversial far beyond just Colorado’s role.  Fraudulent voting and political intrigue occurred in several states, leaving some 20 electoral votes hotly contested.  Even still, years later, after Patterson went on to be a successful lawyer, owner of the Rocky Mountain News, and United States Senator, “his speech reflected a note of pride that it was generally believed that a presidential election had been lost because of a lowly territorial delegate.”*

    For the full story with all the details, see Robert E. Smith’s article in the Spring 1976 Colorado Magazine.  For more on Thomas Patterson, see also the Winter 1974 and Winter 1977 issues of Colorado Magazine; the Spring 2005 issue of Colorado Heritage, and the full-length biography, Tom Patterson:  Colorado Crusader for Change, University Press of Colorado, 1995.  All of these resources are available from our library.  

    *Smith, Robert E.  “Thomas M. Patterson, Colorado Statehood, and the Presidential Election of 1976.”  Colorado Magazine, v.53 n.2, Spring 1976.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Election Day is Next Tuesday!

    Don’t forget to vote!  Election Day is a week away.  Today is the last day to request a mail-in ballot online – send this form to the Secretary of State’s Office today if you need a mail in ballot.  If you already have your absentee ballot, be sure and mail it in time to be received on Tuesday – or, better yet, save a stamp and drop it off at one of the many drop-off locations around the state (click here to find your drop-off location.)  Absentee ballots must be dropped off by 7:00pm Tuesday, November 6.  For all general voter information, including how to find your polling place if you plan to vote in person, visit the Secretary of State’s My Voter Information webpage.  For help understanding the various ballot issues and judicial retention recommendations, see the Colorado Legislative Council’s Blue Book, which offers non-partisan explanations and pros/cons of each issue.  The Blue Book is available in English, Spanish, and audio versions.