Many unknowns remain from yesterday’s election. But one thing is clear: every vote must be counted. Our democracy demands that voters across the country who cast their ballots—often despite ongoing voter suppression and intimidation tactics—must be heard. In the days ahead, we will work with our partners to call for a full and fair accounting of yesterday’s vote.
Although results are still coming in nationally, the outcome of Colorado’s election is settled. We are thrilled to share with you that Colorado voters made history by overwhelmingly approving a paid family and medical leave ballot initiative, which A Better Balance drafted and helped to pass! Colorado now joins 8 states, and Washington D.C., that have passed paid family and medical leave laws—and Colorado is the first to have done so through a ballot initiative. With 85% of votes counted in Colorado, the initiative passed by 14 points, a decisive margin that underscores the strong, bipartisan support for paid family and medical leave.
Only one in five Coloradans receive paid family and medical leave, and access is even more limited among workers in low-wage jobs. As our Denver-Based Vice President Jared Make told HuffPost, “Understanding that we have a real caregiving crisis in this country led to a significant amount of enthusiasm to make sure it qualified for the ballot.” Once implemented, Colorado’s new law will provide more than 2.6 million individuals with 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to bond with a new child, recover from a serious health condition, care for a seriously ill loved one, respond to military family needs, and address domestic violence and sexual assault. We are proud that the law includes job protection, ensures strong wage replacement for individuals in low-wage jobs, defines family inclusively, and allows self-employed workers to opt in to the program.
In addition to drafting the Colorado ballot initiative, we have been working on the ground in the state to provide legal, policy, and strategic support to Colorado’s paid family and medical leave coalition—an incredible group of businesses, advocates, and workers led by our partners at 9to5 Colorado. Now that Colorado voters have spoken, A Better Balance will immediately begin our work to ensure the law is successfully implemented. We will also continue our efforts at every level of government to build on Colorado’s victory and work towards paid family and medical leave for all Americans.