No more political yard signs…for at least a month or two. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► If you still have your ballot for the 2015 election, here’s a website that will teach you how to make some cool paper airplanes. There’s lots of election-related news to discuss, so let’s get to it…
There was only one statewide ballot measure in 2015 — Proposition BB — and voters overwhelmingly approved a plan to allow the state to spend tax money raised from the sale of marijuana. To those Colorado officials who continue to push back against legalized marijuana in municipal and county governments, let this be (another) lesson for you. Colorado voters are cool with weed; stop asking about it.
► The biggest election story in Colorado was the Jefferson County School Board recall, and the outcome left no doubt as to how voters want to proceed in Jeffco. As the Denver Post reports, voters throughout the state were fed up with a 2013 right-wing takeover of school districts:
Voters overwhelmingly chose to recall three members of the Jefferson County school board Tuesday night and elected two others to form an entirely new board in Colorado’s second-largest school district.
In neighboring Douglas County, three incumbents — Kevin Larsen, Richard Robbins and Craig Richardson — who claimed seats on the school board as part of a reform push several years ago lost in their re-election bids.
Susan Harmon, a Lakewood attorney who was chosen by Jefferson County voters to replace ousted member John Newkirk, said Tuesday’s results show that “maybe the tide is turning” in terms of school district politics.
“It sends a large message that you need to be responsive to your constituents, your teachers and your community,” Harmon said…
…As of 10 p.m., the Jefferson County recall effort held a resounding 64 percent to 36 percent lead. The Douglas County winners held a 58 percent to 42 percent margin in each of their races, as of 9 p.m.
Ousted Jefferson County School Board member Julie Williams did not appear to have received the message from voters, however:
Julie Williams, one of the Jefferson County school board members who was recalled Tuesday, said the election was taken over by “the liberal agenda and union bosses.”
“It’s hard to fight the lies,” she said after conceding defeat. “I will continue to fight for our kids, for stopping Common Core and the over-testing of our kids.”
As it turned out, it wasn’t that difficult for voters to differentiate the lies from the truth. Voters saw right through the nonsense from anti-recall efforts funded by the Koch Brothers and the Independent Institute and supported the recall by a nearly 30-point margin. The Washington Post has more on the national perspective:
It was a bad night for conservative school reformers in two Colorado elections being watched nationally in the education world — and public education advocates did well in key Philadelphia races as well.
Voters in the Denver suburb of Jefferson County on Tuesday tossed out three conservative members in a recall vote that was marked by some $1 million in spending, including support for the incumbents from a Koch-backed organization [Pols emphasis]. The school board earned national attention when the members in 2014 said the Advanced Placement U.S. History course was not patriotic enough and needed to be changed.
(Kudos to Colorado Pols readers, who foresaw the outcome in Jefferson County).
► There are several close races around the state that have yet to be decided, and counting is not yet complete in every county. Check the Secretary of State’s election results site for updates.
Get even more smarter after the jump…