You can find plenty wrong with The Denver Post, especially if you’re wishing it were what it used to be, but you have to respect the newspaper for trying to get basic information about all Colorado candidates on the record for voters to chew on, spit out, or whatever.
That’s why The Denver Post’s voter guide is such a beautiful thing. It asks all state candidates a bunch of questions, both broad and specific.
The questionnaire represents a speck of hope for civil debate—and it was obviously ton of work by the news side of The Post to get it together.
Oh, you haven’t heard about it? That’s because The Post has barely mentioned it, even though it represents a basic and respected function of a newspaper. I didn’t find a single mention of the voter guide in The Post’s print edition.
With the voter guide flying under the radar, it was easy for candidates, Republicans especially, to sit back and blow it off.
For state legislative races overall, 12 of 85 GOP candidates (14%) returned The Denver Post questionnaire, while 57 of 78 Democratic candidates (73%) returned it (seven races had no Dem candidate).
For the State House, 56 Republicans didn’t submit the questionnaire, and nine did. For Dems, 19 did not and 41 did submit. (Dems did not run in five races.) So, in 33 House races, Dems filled out questionnaires but not Republicans. In one race, a Republican filled out a form, but not a Dem.
For the State Senate, 17 GOP Senate candidates did not submit it, and three did. Sixteen Dems filled it out, and two did not. Dems didn’t field a candidate in two races. For 13 races, Democrats filled out a questionnaire but not a Republican. And in one race, a Republican filled out a questionnaire and not a Dem.
Rather than write angry news articles and editorials about this, The Post didn’t publish anything, as far as I can tell, even though you might think the response-rate to the questionnaire would have been blasted far and wide by The Post, pressuring candidates, mostly Republicans, to answer basic questions, and showing subscribers that the newspaper is fighting for them.
But no such luck. Too bad for us, and for The Post.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS FROM THE DENVER POST VOTER GUIDE
First, it asks for education, endorsements, community service, etc., then it poses these questions:
- Briefly describe the biggest issues facing your constituents.
- Name an issue where you have disagreed or are likely to disagree with your party’s legislative leadership?
- What is the top reason voters should support you over your opponent?
- The state’s sales tax is now at 2.9 percent after being cut from 3 percent by lawmakers in 1999. Meanwhile, the state’s income tax was at 5 percent in 1999 but has since been cut to 4.63 percent by lawmakers. Are there conditions under which you would support asking voters to raise sales and income taxes back up to their 1999 levels? If so, describe them.
- Name one law you would repeal in Colorado state legislature.
- A major criticism of the Senior Homestead Exemption program is that it gives a property tax break to qualifying seniors, regardless of their wealth. Would you support a means test for the Senior Homestead Exemption?
- Should the legislature pass a law allowing the university to set its own policies on carrying weapons on campus?
- Do you support efforts to charge lower tuition than the out-of state rate for children of illegal immigrants at Colorado’s public colleges and universities?
- Would you support a law returning the power to appoint trustees in the 10 largest counties back to the county government?
- Would you support a law requiring online retailers to charge sales tax?
- Would you support statewide rules that increase setbacks for oil and gas drilling near residential areas?
- Do you support efforts to repeal defense of marriage act which bans Gay marriage in Colorado?
- Do you support the legal recognition of civil unions?
- Would you support referring to voters a tax increase a ballot question to support transportation improvement?
- Many critics of Colorado’s initiative petition process say it’s too easy to amend the state constitution and that this has had negative results for the state. Would you support asking voters to make it harder to amend the constitution?
- Would you support adding a “personhood” amendment to the Colorado Constitution, declaring a fertilized human egg to be a person and to have the fundamental legal protections a person has?
- Do you agree with Roe v. Wade?
- If no, do you believe in an exception for rape/incest?
- Do you support Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act?
- Do you support greater transparency and access to government records?
- Would you fight against rules that weaken public access to government?
- How would you address the challenged Colorado economy and seek to impact job growth?
- Has the legislature done enough to reform PERA, or should additional measures be taken? If so, what would you advocate?