How Saguache County voted: marijuana excise tax approved, sales tax for law enforcement defeated

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by Lisa Cyriacks

The law enforcement sales tax proposition intended to build a new jail and create funds to hire additional deputies in Saguache County failed 1,225 to 1,554, while the marijuana excise tax passed 1,493 to 1,283.

Commissioners Jason Anderson and Ken Anderson, running unopposed for election, earned 1,920 and 1,925 votes respectively, out of 2,940 ballots cast.

The Secretary of State office reports that out of 4,458 registered voters in Saguache County, 2,940 ballots were cast resulting in 65.95% turnout. By comparison, statewide voter turnout was 75.46% or 2,844,385 ballot cast out of 3,769,418 registered voters.

Mirroring the State results, Saguache County went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton  (49.98%) over Donald Trump (40.46%) with 271 votes (9.56%) cast for minor party, unaffiliated and write-in candidates. The Clinton/Kaine ticket won Colorado by 48.15%. Trump/Pence earned 43.27%.

Likewise, Saguache County supported Michael Bennet (D) 55.11% over Darryl Glen (R) 36.57%. The margin was higher than the statewide results of 49.97% for Bennet compared to 44.33% for Glenn.

Statewide people voted for the status quo, sending incumbents back to Congress—three Democrats and four Republicans. Saguache County voted for Gail Schwartz, who ultimately lost to Scott Tipton, who went on to win statewide 54.55% to 40.42% for Schwartz. The Libertarian candidate won 5.03% of the total vote.

Larry Crowder, incumbent Republican, will remain State Senator for District 35 and Donald Valdez, Democrat, won the District 62 seat.

Saguache County voters mostly concurred with the statewide results on the ballot initiatives.

Amendment 69, a first-in-the-nation approach for socializing health insurance faced an overwhelming loss, with 78.82% of the state’s early voting returns opposed to ColoradoCare—a proposal to raise payroll taxes and create an unprecedented universal health care system. 21.18% voted for the measure.

Another health-related ballot initiative, a measure that will let terminally ill patients take their own lives using medication prescribed by a physician, passed. Colorado will be the sixth state where this is legal, joining Oregon, Washington, California, Montana and Vermont. The measure passed 64.84% to 35.16%.

Amendment 70, which will raise Colorado’s wage from its current level of $8.31 per hour to $12 per hour by 2020, passed 55.32% to 44.68%. Wages for tipped employees will increase from $5.29 per hour to $8.98 in 2020.

Amendment 71, which will make it harder for citizen-backed state constitutional amendments to get on ballots, also passed—barely by the new requirements it imposes.  Under the new requirements, petition signatures must be gathered from 2% of registered voters in each of Colorado’s 35 state Senate districts. The amendment will require that 55% of voters approve a measure, rather than a simple majority.

The final vote was: Yes 55.72% and No 44.28%.

Voters passed Proposition 107, which will replace political party caucuses with a state-run presidential primary. It will also open that primary to unaffiliated voters. That means they’d be able to pick a presidential candidate for the general election even though they don’t belong to a party. More on ballot measures here. Companion measure Proposition 108 also passed, opening down-ballot primaries to unaffiliated voters.

Voters rejected raising taxes on cigarettes. Yes 46.92%, No 53.08%.

Saguache County reported 152 new voter registrations during the November election cycle.

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