Voters take sides on ballot issue 1A

Posted 10/24/11

Election campaign volunteers are spending the waning weeks leading up Nov. 1 trying to convince voters to support their side, and those involved in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Voters take sides on ballot issue 1A


Election campaign volunteers are spending the waning weeks leading up Nov. 1 trying to convince voters to support their side, and those involved in the ballot issue 1A fight are no different.

Members of Douglas County Residents for Professional Law Enforcement, or DC ProLaw, are knocking on doors, waving signs and making phone calls. Likewise, those involved with the No Way 1A campaign are trying to disseminate their message about what they see as the dangers of extending term limits for the Douglas County Sheriff. They have used highly visible billboards and political cartoons to try and sway voters.

Ballot initiative 1A would extend the number of times the Douglas County sheriff can be re-elected from two to three terms of four years each. Backers of the measure believe that enabling the public to vote in a well-performing sheriff for a third time has its benefits, including “continuity of service” and cost-savings, said Rick Murray, member and former chairman of the Douglas County Public Safety Advisory Committee, which spun off to form DC ProLaw. There would not be as much turnover in personnel and, therefore, less of a need to train new comers, they say.

No Way 1A, opponents of the extension of sheriff term limits, argues that getting new blood into a crucial public safety position helps bring fresh viewpoints. A change in leadership is beneficial because it puts new eyes on an issue that might currently be overlooked.

“A new person will set the clocks on contracts and look at any inside deals that are in place,” said Kelsey Alexander, who actually helped with Sheriff Dave Weaver’s last election campaign but opposes 1A. “The current sheriff is not doing anything wrong or bad. It’s just that when you get new a person in, they look at it differently.”

Passing 1A might also begin a trend of term limit extensions for other elected positions, including county commissioner, said Dave Watts, who is heading the No Way 1A campaign.

But Murray said the opposition group is trying to “paint this issue as something it’s not.” He said allowing a popular, cost-cutting sheriff to stay on board for one more term, if the public decides it is appropriate, is the wise course of action.

“It takes experience to be a good sheriff,” he said, pointing out the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s top-32 Triple Crown ranking for its three major accreditations. “It takes a considerable amount of time to get a department running as efficiently as it is.”

However, some voters are in the dark about the issue and don’t even know who the current sheriff is, let alone that there is an initiative to extend his term limits. Murray said several people who responded to a door-to-door campaign push were unfamiliar with what is at stake. Some did not have an opinion either way. However, he estimated that 85-90 percent of those who are aware of the ballot question support it.

Alexander, the former chairperson of the Douglas County Republicans, said she believes in limited government and believes there are plenty of qualified candidates for the position in Douglas County. The issue, especially with a sheriff who has been in office since he was appointed in 2004 to fill the remainder of former sheriff Mike Acree’s term, is that elected officials are now afraid to take a public stance against 1A. She said the incumbent candidate is elected nearly 100 percent of the time in Douglas County, highlighting the need for more choices.

No Way 1A is also concerned about how voters will perceive what Alexander calls “tricky” ballot language. It begins with the words “Shall the voters of Douglas County, Colorado, have the right,” which might automatically prompt people to vote in favor of it because they want to protect their rights. Alexander says it should read, “Shall the terms for Douglas County Sheriff be extended” to avoid any confusion. After it was approved on a 3-0 vote, Douglas County Commissioner Steve Boand proposed changing the ballot language so voters are clear of the impact of their choice.

Murray, chairman of the Republicans of Highlands Ranch, says a lot of campaign focus has been put on the unincorporated areas of the county that the sheriff’s office serves, especially Highlands Ranch and outlying areas of Parker.

“I think we’re going to pass, but I think it will be close,” he said.

Alexander, on the other side of the issue, says she thinks 1A will be defeated, particularly because the conservatives who make up the majority of the local voting base believe in limited government.


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.