Aurora, Coloradans voting on taxes, jail, city leaders, legalizing sports betting

303
Colleen Lindstone takes a couple of ballots from a couple of Arapahoe County voters, Nov. 5, 2019, outside of the Aurora Municipal Center.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | A ballot measure to let state government keep rather than refund excess tax revenue and another proposition legalizing sports betting topped Colorado’s off-year election ballot Tuesday.

Locally, Aurora residents are choosing a mayor, four city council seats, school board members in two districts and whether to build a new jail in Arapahoe County.

Both state measures were sent to the ballot by the Democrat-led Legislature, in accordance with the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a 1992 amendment to the state constitution that requires voter approval of any tax increases, bonding or revenue retention measures.

Supporters of Proposition CC hope its passage would lead to the state investing billions of dollars in modernizing roads and schools to keep up with rapid population growth.

Backers of Proposition DD, the bipartisan sports betting proposal, were counting on Coloradans’ previous willingness to approve “sin taxes” — in this case to bring sports gambling out of the black market and tax it to pay for water conservation.

Colorado voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana, but voters have rejected past tax ballot measures intended to boost education spending. School and transportation measures were defeated in 2018.

A simple majority is required for either proposition to pass.

Proposition CC is not a hike in tax rates but would allow state government to permanently keep revenue in years when it exceeds a complicated cap set in part by theTaxpayer’s Bill of the Rights, or TABOR.

The money would be split three ways among K-12 schools, higher education and roads. Voters in dozens of municipalities have approved similar measures for schools and public safety.

Republicans and other opponents, including Americans for Prosperity, argue that TABOR has allowed the private sector to fuel Colorado’s robust economy and checked state government growth.

Legislative economists estimate state refunds at $264 million in fiscal year 2019-2020 and $143 million in 2020-2021.

Proposition DD would allow online and in-person wagering on professional, collegiate, motor and Olympic sports starting in May. It would dedicate a limited revenue stream to a state water conservation plan that seeks to meet the future needs of the Denver metropolitan area, Colorado’s agriculture and outdoor recreation industries, and commitments to Southwest states that rely on the Colorado River.

Voters are considering a 10% flat tax on internet sports betting proceeds. Companies operating 33 casinos in Colorado could seek licenses for onsite betting as well as online and sports gambling apps. Operators would determine their own cash limits on bets.

Legal sports betting has grown since New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 allowing all 50 states to offer it.

Legislative economists project a Colorado tax on sports betting could generate $11 million in fiscal year 2020-21.

If you have a mail ballot, there are links below telling you where and how to drop the ballot off. County election officials say it’s too late to mail the ballot to ensure you vote is counted. There are numerous drop-off locations.

Colorado allows for same-day voter registration. If you are already and registered voter and did not received a mail-ballot, call clerk numbers below for instructions. If you aren’t registered to vote, Aurora residents can do that at a voting center, and cast a ballot today until 7 p.m.

Even though no statewide or national candidates will appear on Aurora ballots this year, residents still have plenty to decide before 7 p.m. today.

A sextet of Aurora City Council seats and a bevy of school board posts in Aurora Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District are up for grabs in 2019. Voters will also get the chance to weigh in on a pair of statewide ballot measures, with Arapahoe County residents facing a third question calling for a bump in property taxes to fund a new jail.

CLICK HERE TO GOT TO THE DIGITAL VOTER GUIDE SECTION

Just as they have in every election since 2014, registered voters will receive their ballots via mail. However, residents can continue to register to vote through Election Day, including online at the Secretary of State’s website. Voters wishing to cast a ballot in-person may also do so at various local polling centers that open at the end of the month.

There are nearly 1 million registered voters in the three counties that touch Aurora — Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas — though only a portion of those electors actually live within city limits.

A new state law that allows county clerks to automatically register citizens that apply for a Colorado driver’s license doesn’t take effect until next summer.

Here’s what you need to know to make your voice heard on or before Nov. 5.

The Arapahoe County Clerk’s Office will begin issuing mail ballots to voters in that county — generally all Aurora residents who live south of East Colfax Avenue — the week of Oct. 14. The ballots will need to be returned either by mail or at a dropbox by 7 p.m. Nov. 5. Mail ballots postmarked before the deadline but received afterward will not be counted. More than two dozen county drop boxes across the county, including 10 in Aurora, will open at 7 p.m. Oct. 14. Voters can also drop off their ballots, register to vote, update their registration, request a replacement ballot or request to vote in-person at six county polling centers, including two in Aurora, most days between Oct. 28 and Election Day. Consult arapahoevotes.com/voter-service-polling-centers or call 303-795-4511 for a complete list of hours and locations. ONLINE: ArapahoeVotes.com


Adams County voters — residents living north of East Colfax — will receive their mail ballots from the county clerk’s office the same week as their neighbors to the south: Oct. 14. Electors can return their ballot either by mail or at any one of the county’s 22 dropbox locations, including three in Aurora. All dropbox locations open Oct. 14. Voters can also drop off their ballots, register to vote, update their registration, request a replacement ballot or request to vote in-person at six county polling centers, including one in Aurora, Monday through Saturday between Oct. 28 and Election Day. Consult adamsvotes.com/2019-coordianted-election/vspcs/ or call 720-523-6500 for a complete list of hours and locations. ONLINE: AdamsVotes.com

The small portion of Aurora residents residing in Douglas County — primarily around the Heritage Eagle Bend neighborhood in the city’s
council Ward VI — will also receive their ballots in the mail beginning Oct. 14. Ballots must be returned to any of the 11 county dropbox locations — though none are in Aurora — between Oct. 15 and Nov. 5. Voters can also drop off their ballots, register to vote, update their registration, request a replacement ballot or request to vote in-person at any of the four county polling centers most days between Oct. 28 and Election Day. Visit douglas.co.us/elections/voter-service-and-polling-centers or call 303-660-7444.