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Weekly Reality Check: Ballot Issues And Conventions

(CBS4) - When Coloradans vote in November, they'll not only cast ballots for the President and U.S. Senate, they'll also vote on a number of statewide issues.

Signatures are still being counted for a bill creating paid family leave as well as one to lower the state income tax rate.

Already on the ballot: moving to a national popular vote for president, a ban on late term abortions, proof of citizenship to vote, the reintroduction of grey wolves, and increase in the tobacco and nicotine tax.

On Aug. 7, CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd sat down with our analysts, Democrat Mike Dino and Republican Dick Wadhams, to give them a Reality Check.

The group started with the paid family leave effort, with Boyd pointing out COVID-19 could help make the case for the measure.

Wadhams disagreed. "Businesses are already struggling because of the coronavirus, in the decline in the economy and to impose yet another requirement on businesses at this time, I don't think that is very smart."

"I think the business community will rally and then try to oppose this because you're going to end up killing more jobs, if this passes."

Dino said he believes it will pass because it is a Democratic issue. "I think the Democrats have done a good job of messaging it. The constituencies around it will work hard to make sure it's passed."

Boyd pointed out a question about abortion seems to be on the ballot every year, saying she doesn't believe it stands a chance of passing this year.

Dino agreed but also pointed out the impact it could have on voter turnout. "I do think it is a tactic to certainly get conservatives to turn out and vote, ad maybe help narrow the margin for Cory Gardner, certainly for Donald Trump."

Dino acknowledged he knew Wadhams does believe it could pass.

Wadhams explained his reasoning. "I think polling will show that even pro-choice voters, a big chunk of pro-choice voters, do support a late term abortion ban."

He went on, "I think this will be a very uncomfortable question for many Democratic candidates to answer. 'Do you support any limitation on abortion in terms of nine month abortions?' I don't think they've gotten a good answer to that. John Hickenlooper has really fumbled that issue times already."

The trio also discussed how the big national conventions will look difference this year and if they matter anymore.

"Both of them are virtual this year," Boyd said. "It doesn't appear either candidate is going to attend. These used to be where you selected the nominee but now they're really just about selling the nominee to voters. So, do they matter anymore?"

Again the analysts had a disagreement.

Wadhams said they do matter, particularly the Democratic convention. "A lot of attention on vice presidential pick by Biden and of course his speech. He's been cocooned in his basement for so long that this is kind of like a coming out party in some ways. Then the President's speech will be a deal whether it's at the White House or wherever."

Dino said he doesn't think the conventions matter as much because the candidates have already said they don't . "They've kind of abdicated from the traditional way of doing it because they've had to. The virus has precipitated that. I think it'll be hard to get the bump that they used to get from the big extravaganzas producer over four days."

Dick Wadhams is Republican political consultant who has worked with former Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard and former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens. He also worked on John Thune's upset victory over then-United States Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota. Wadhams was elected as the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party in 2007 and 2009.

Mike Dino is a Democratic government affairs expert with more than 30 years of experience. He was the CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Host Committee where President Barack Obama received his historic nomination. Dino also served as the executive director of Denver's Task Force for the 1997 Summit of the Eight.

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