This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, October 18, 2000

October 18, 2000 - Making Democracy Work Voter Information

WHO is on the ballot?

WHAT is on the ballot?

WHERE are you supposed to vote?

WHEN are you supposed to vote?

WHY should you support, or oppose, a particular candidate or issue?

The political season is upon us. In fact, with early voting and absentee voting, the season is lengthening. The question: assuming that you intend to be diligent enough to exercise your right to vote, have you been diligent enough to do the research first?

This year, there are many choices to be made. There are candidates: federal, state, county, town, and even judicial. Then there are statewide issues, school district issues, municipal issues, and special district issues.

Many voters are aware of the "Blue Book" -- technically, "An Analysis of the 2000 Statewide Ballot Issues," produced by the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly. This provides an excellent, balanced approach to the ISSUES faced by the state.

Eventually, most homes will also receive the local county TABOR summary of the issues. Local newspapers will do a good job of interviewing local candidates about their positions.

But the problem is pulling it all together. Few of us, alas, have librarians at home, who receive, organize, and set it all out for us. (And even those of us who do have librarians at home tend to let the folks at work take care of it.)

That's the idea behind our Making Democracy Work project. Originally a joint effort between the Douglas County League of Women Voters and the Douglas Public Library District, the library has in recent years offered two versions of voter information. The first consists of notebooks, kept at the reference desks of our Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker, and Philip S. Miller libraries. The second version is electronic. Right now, we're highlighting it from our main web page at www.dpld.org. Usually, you get to it by clicking on the "Your Community" link.

From this page, you'll find well-organized links to a host of other folks who provide up-to-the-minute information about election issues.

To return to some of the questions above, WHEN you vote is simple: November 7, 2000.

WHERE: consult our link to the Douglas County elections web pages.

WHAT is on the ballot? Again, the Douglas County page will offer the complete sample ballot, although some issues may not appear on your own, local ballot.

WHY should you support, or oppose a particular candidate or issue? Our Making Democracy Work site is particularly helpful here. We link to the electronic version of the State Blue Book. We link to various other newspapers and voter sites that will let you track the performance, public statements, and histories of a host of people and ideas.

We get the government we deserve, of course. But we also have a choice as voters: carelessness and apathy, or thoughtful consideration matched with a passion for civic engagement. The library aims to support the latter approach.

Incidentally, for a live review of the issues, consider attending a non-partisan review of Amendments and issues hosted by the Parker chapter of the American Association of University Women. I understand that all the Amendments will have representatives, excepting Doug Bruce, who declined to attend. The meeting will be held on Thursday, October 19, 6:30 p.m., at the Parker Library.

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