Women Thriving. Colorado Rising.

Civic Engagement

You Can Transform Your Community

Raise your voice. Advocate for opportunity. Cast your vote.

Public policy is a powerful tool for change. Our state and our economy can be strengthened by advancing common-sense, practical solutions that create opportunities for women to reach their full potential and remove the barriers standing in the way of their progress. One bill can positively, or negatively, impact hundreds of thousands of women and families. That is why WFCO engages in public policy advocacy and why your civic engagement is crucial.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead


Not sure where to start? You already have – you’re here. This page will help you find resources for voting, research ballot issues and candidates, learn about the legislative process, and engage in advocacy.

Civic Engagement Guide Breakdown:

Registering to vote Upcoming elections Mail-in ballots & voting Ballot measures
Researching issues Researching candidates Colorado General Assembly Influencing legislators
Legislative process Staying up-to-date    


Bottom line:
Register to vote, read your Blue Book, find your polling place, and cast your ballot.

 

  Your Voice and Your Vote Matter!

  

  Register to vote

Register to vote and confirm or update your voter registration at www.GoVoteColorado.com or complete your voter registration form and mail it to your county clerk and recorder. Colorado law allows voter registration through election day, though when you register can impact how you receive your ballot. To register to vote, individuals must be 18 years old by election day (although individuals as young as 16 can register in preparation for their 18th birthday), citizens of the United States, and have lived in Colorado at least 22 days prior to election day. Visit the Colorado Secretary of State website for more information.


  Upcoming elections in Colorado

November 6, 2018 – General Election
Coloradans will elect all State executive officers (governor, lt. governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, state board of education, state board of regents) and all seven representatives to the United States House of Representatives. Colorado voters will also elect their state representatives in all 65 Colorado House of Representatives districts and state senators in 17 of the 35 Colorado Senate districts, consider local races, and both statewide and local ballot measures.

2019 – Local Elections
Many Colorado communities will elect new local leaders. The mayoral races in Colorado Springs and Denver are already garnering a lot of attention.

November 3, 2020 – General Election
In addition to the United States presidential race, Colorado voters will decide who represents our state in the United States Congress. All of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the Senate seat currently held by Senator Cory Gardner will be up for election. Colorado voters will also elect their state representatives in all 65 Colorado House of Representatives districts, elect their state senators in 16 of the 35 Colorado Senate districts, consider local races, and potentially vote on both statewide and local ballot measures.


  Mail-in ballots & voting

All Colorado voters (whose registration is completed at least 8 days in advance of an election) receive a mail-in ballot. Mailed ballots must be received (not postmarked) by your county clerk and recorder by 7:00 p.m. on election day.

If you are unsure whether your ballot will be received in time, drop it off at a designated drop-off location until 7:00 p.m. on election day.

Polling locations are also available for in-person voting. Visit your county clerk and recorder's website to find your polling place or ballot drop-off location.

Visit the Colorado Secretary of State website for more information about mail-in ballots.


  Ballot measures

Colorado voters often have the opportunity to weigh in on changes to the state constitution and state laws. These statewide initiatives end up on the ballot through referral by the Colorado General Assembly or are championed by proponents in the community and certified for the ballot through a complex process.

Resources:
  How to File Initiatives
  Initiative Procedures & Guidelines
  Behind the Scenes: How a Bill Becomes a Law In Colorado by Legislative Legal Services

An impartial analysis of each amendment, law, and question on the ballot is prepared by the Colorado Legislative Council staff with input from the community, including proponents and opponents. The analysis is presented in the Ballot Information Booklet or “Blue Book”, which is mailed to all voters and available online.

The Brownstein Colorado Ballot Initiative Tracker, available through the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, is a great resource for tracking all proposed statewide ballot measures and their progress through the certification process.

Colorado news outlets often cover important or controversial ballot measures in their politics or op-ed sections. Check your favorite outlet's website to see what issues they're covering.


  Researching issues

The Womanifesto CoverVoters are encouraged to learn more about the issues impacting our community to inform their votes. Trusted organizations can be great sources of issue information. WFCO and our public policy partners have released several guides and briefs to help you understand the issues:

The Womanifesto: A 2018 voter handbook for everyone who cares about strengthening Colorado

Colorado Children’s Campaign's Campaign 4 Kids 2018 Election Guide: How Candidates and Voters Can Put Kids First in 2018 and Beyond

The Bell Policy Center's 2018 Ballot Guide

Children's Hospital Colorado's guide to Advocating for Kids in Public Policy

Young Invincibles' A Vote to Protect and Expand Health Coverage for Young Adults: A Policy Agenda for the 2018 Midterm Elections

9to5's Voter Guide: Working Women Vote Our Values

Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business Ballot Guide

Colorado Succeeds' A Business Guide for Colorado's Next Governor


  Researching candidates

WFCO cannot and does not take a position on any candidate for public, elected office. That's up to Colorado voters like you. There are many resources to learn more about the candidates on your ballot and where they stand on the issues. Two good places to start: The League of Women Voters' guide on how to judge a candidate provides a road map, including a template for a candidate report card, and Vote Smart provides unbiased information about candidates and elected officials. We also encourage you to visit candidates’ websites, contact them with questions and suggestions, and participate in community events to learn more about those who seek to represent you and govern your community.

 

  Advocating for Change

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado engages in public policy advocacy to influence the systems that impact all aspects of our communities, including through the legislative process. You can, too!

 

  Colorado General Assembly

The Colorado General Assembly is complex and largely operates in the same way as the United States Congress. We have a bicameral legislature, made up of the House of Representatives, which includes 65 seats, and the Senate, which includes 35 seats. Representatives serve two-year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms. Senators serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms.

Learn about the Assembly's composition, procedure and powers, the state budget process, and more.

Have you ever wondered who can be a legislator? Are legislators paid? Who is a legislator's boss? Read this legislative Q&A


  Influencing legislators

Many ideas for new laws or changes to existing laws come from community members. Legislators value opportunities to listen to their constituents about challenges facing their communities and potential solutions for them. Legislators also want input from those they represent about the issues on which they vote throughout the legislative session.

There are many ways to share your perspective with elected officials, as an individual or a representative of a community group, business, or organization.

First, find your legislator. Then, you can contact them by phone, email, or mail. You may also request an in-person meeting with elected officials.

When you contact your legislator (use this link to find out who that is) remember the following:

Tell them you are a constituent; legislators pay attention to those who put – and keep – them in office.

Communicate aspects important to you in your own words; legislators prefer not to receive standardized emails and/or calls.

Including something specific to your district is helpful (a personal story, something you saw/heard, why this matter is especially important to you, etc.).

  For a phone call:

Use this formula, pulled from an action alert for the Child Care Tax Credit (CCTC), for whatever bill or issue you're calling about.

Introduction: Introduce yourself as a constituent and include your affiliation with The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, as well as your professional affiliation or role in the community.

What issue you're calling about and why: Continuing the CCTC is important to us because it helps encourages contributions to child care resources throughout Colorado, which helps ensure women can work to support themselves and their families.

Personalize: Personalize the conversation by sharing how you or a woman you know have utilized child care to be able to work. If you have utilized the CCTC, be sure to tell your senator

Ask for support: Please support HB18-1004 by voting yes (if your senator will be voting) or by encouraging your peers to vote yes (if your senator will not be voting).

  For an email:

Use this formula, pulled from an action alert for the Child Care Tax Credit (CCTC), for whatever bill or issue you're emailing about.

Dear Senator [SENATOR'S LAST NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a supporter of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado as well as a [INSERT PROFESSIONAL TITLE (optional). IE: business owner, educator etc]. I am writing you today to strongly encourage your support for [BILL OR ISSUE], which [WHY SUPPORT IE: helps ensure women can work to support themselves and their families by encouraging taxpayers to invest in child care resources throughout our state.]

[PERSONALIZE IE: your senator know if you or a woman you know has been impacted by this bill/issue]

As one of your constituents, I ask you to please support [BILL OR ISSUE]. [Please vote yes] or [Please encourage your peers to vote yes.]

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]


  Legislative process

Every bill introduced in the Colorado General Assembly receives a public hearing. The bills are first considered in the chamber in which they are introduced, assigned to a committee for a public hearing, and then, if passed out of committee, return for further consideration by the chamber in which the bill was introduced.

Then, if the bill passes the first chamber, the process is repeated in the second chamber. If passed by both chambers, the bill advances for the Governor’s approval.

Resources:
  How a bill becomes a law in Colorado
  The legislative process
  Public participation in the legislative process


  Stay up-to-date

Learn more about proposed legislation through the Colorado General Assembly bill tracking tools.

Sign up for our eNewsletter and follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on what's happening at the Capitol and to receive action alerts to contact your representatives on critical issues impacting Colorado women and their families.

Each spring during the legislative session, WFCO hosts a lobby day at the Capitol for community members to learn about and participate in the legislative process. Sign up for our eNewsletter to be the first to know when registration opens.

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