Amendment 71 will impact how and what amendments reach the ballot in the future. It is said that it will offer rural counties such as Delta a voice in the process but after reading the ballot, I have a different opinion. It currently takes 5 percent of the number of votes cast to elect the secretary of state as of the last election cycle. That's 98,492 votes for 2015-2018. They can come from anywhere in the state. The new proposed amendment states that initiatives must have a minimum 2 percent of votes cast in each county. How hard will it make it for counties like ours to push through initiatives that are important to the Western Slope?
The cost of gathering votes will increase but there's more to think about. Say we propose an amendment regarding Denver Water seeking Western Slope water. While this is an all-important issue for our agricultural area, there are many people on the Front Range who need and want our water. So, Delta County would have to convince all the Front Range counties to the tune of 2 percent of a massive population area that we deserve to keep our water. We might have overwhelming support within our own area but only 2 percent would matter. Delta County has around 11,227 registered votes so 2 percent would be only 225 votes. Then we would have to get 2 percent support from the massive growth counties. Any citizen can push an initiative if he can get local support. With the 2 percent of each county requirement, only broad-appeal initiatives or ones backed by big business and large advertising budgets will have a ghost of a chance. This amendment will rob of us our voice in the state's constitution, not increase it. At least that's how I see it. I'm voting NO.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.