Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado election reaches the home stretch

The Gazette - Updated: November 5, 2013 at 5:12 am 0

Voters have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to get their ballots in for an election involving two statewide ballot questions - the leading issue being a nearly billion-dollar income tax rate hike for K-12 education.

Amendment 66 would provide the money needed to pay for education reform legislation approved by the Colorado Legislature this year.

Proponents say the measure is needed to reduce class sizes and restore art and music education, in addition to sending money to underperforming school districts.

For more on the issues and candidates, see The Gazette's voter guide here.

ALSO: The Gazette will host a live chat starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, taking your questions and giving updates here at gazette.com (follow the hashtag #covote)

Critics of Amendment 66 say money from the higher tax rates will be used to back-fill the educators' portion of the Public Employees' Retirement Association, the pension plan for teachers and others associated with education. Opponents fear that much of the money will not reach classrooms.

Backers of the measure have raised millions to sell it to voters; opponents have spent far less. But a poll released Oct. 6 showed 56 percent of the electorate was opposed to the measure and just 35 percent said they would vote for it.

Also on the ballot is Proposition AA, which would establish a 15 percent excise tax on sales of recreational marijuana and allow local governments to levy more taxes beyond that. The measure follows on the heels of a 2012 referendum that legalized marijuana sales.

Last week, the Colorado Department of Revenue reported that more than 100 applications for retail pot sales have been submitted to the state.

Meanwhile, there are a bevy of school board races locally. And there are contested races for council seats in Fountain and Manitou Springs.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office says no one should be mailing in ballots now because they probably would not reach the office in time to be counted. All ballots should be cast at a voting center or dropped off at one of several drop boxes.

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HOW TO VOTE

Voting in person: On Monday, vote centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesday, Election Day, all centers will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

- Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, Suite 2002; 24-hour drop-off box for ballots

- Southeast Powers Branch, 5650 Industrial Place; 24-hour drop-off box for ballots

- Downtown Branch at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave.; 24-hour drop-off box for ballots

- North Branch, 8830 N. Union Blvd.; 24-hour drop-off box for ballots

- Fountain Police Department Community Room, 222 N. Santa Fe Ave., Fountain

- Town of Monument, 645 Beacon Lite Road, Monument

- El Paso County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 355 10th St., Calhan

Other ballot drop-off locations: Charles C. "Chuck" Brown Transportation and Environmental Complex, 24-hour secure box; Ellicott School District Administration Building, 395 S. Ellicott Highway, Calhan; Falcon School District Administration Building, 10850 E. Woodmen Road, Peyton; City of Manitou Springs, 606 Manitou Ave.; Donald Westcott Fire Protection District, 15415 Gleneagle Drive; Ute Pass Elementary School, 9230 Chipita Park Road; City of Colorado Springs, 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 101

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Teller County

Voting in person: Clerk and Recorder's offices: 101 W. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, Monday; 7 a.m-7 p.m. Tuesday

Ballot drop-off location only: 540 Manor Court, Woodland Park, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday

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Voter Guide

For more on issues and candidates, see The Gazette's online voter guide.

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