Proposition 108 Archives - Colorado Politics
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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 29, 20173min3860

No, it’s not a passage from some best-selling, self-help paperback:

The great game of life is to always challenge yourself to become better than you were, better than you are, the best you can be.

Nor is it a line from “Trump: The Art of the Deal” — though you’re getting warm. It’s part of an e-missive from the Colorado Republican Party to its sizable mailing list this morning expressing the state party’s support — enthusiasm, in fact — for Colorado’s new voter-approved law opening party primaries to unaffiliated voters. Hence:

The Colorado GOP is looking forward to a new challenge in the 2018 primaries: earning the loyalty of independent voters.

A new Colorado law allows the state’s 1.4 million independent voters to cast a ballot in primaries, a privilege once held by party members only. Colorado GOP Chairman Jeff Hays is optimistic. …

… The chairman’s optimism mirrors the longstanding principles of the GOP: that facilitating debate and civil discourse are the hallmarks of a thriving party. That the GOP is the party of ideas, a party with an open door, a party of variety and strength. The more voices, the stronger the roar.

The principles may be longstanding, but the tone? Not exactly your grandfather’s Grand Old Party.

It comes in the wake of a push by a dissident party faction to cancel the open primary — a move permitted under Proposition 108, adopted by Colorado voters last fall. The move would have backfired on the party, Hays and many party loyalists contended. The attempt was rejected 2-to-1 last week by the party central committee, and Hays and other are now relieved — and evidently moving to clear the air.

Here’s more from the e-release:

The barrier for independent voters has been removed, and the competition to earn those voters’ trust has opened up. We accept the challenge.

We want many voices, new ideas. The Republican Party has always been where the best ideas are hoisted with the flag. That sincerity has always drawn new faces to the crowd, new life to the party, and the 2018 primary will be another chance for us to prove it.

It ends with an appeal to fellow Republicans to share their views on the big change on the state party’s Facebook page. Weigh in, and let them know what you think.

 


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Ken ToltzKen ToltzAugust 17, 20174min2400
Ken Toltz
Ken Toltz

The grand experiment in Colorado elections, set for next summer, is becoming a divisive Republican Party topic. In the past, only voters registered as Democrat or Republican could legally vote in the primary, which chooses the party’s general election nominee for federal and state elected offices. Thanks to last November’s passage of Prop. 108, 2018’s primary will be the first Colorado election under the new “open primary” rules, with unknown effect.

Colorado’s June 26 2018 primary elections will be the live test to see if allowing unaffiliated voters to choose a favorite primary candidate will indeed increase voter participation.  Former Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams felt compelled to defend Republican Party participation in the new open primary in a recent Denver Post editorial, “State GOP shouldn’t cancel ’18 primary” – Aug. 13, 2017.

Responding to a petition calling for a Republican Party central committee vote to opt out of the open primary, Wadhams wrote, “Let there be no mistake about it: If the primary is cancelled and nominations are left to few thousand activists…Republicans will pay politically.”

In addition to increasing voter participation, Prop. 108 proponents suggested their open primary scheme would impact candidates’ platforms and campaigns. Will candidates indeed appeal to a broader range of voters, not just the most active and ideologically committed of their party?  That is one of the theories to be tested.

The implementation however, is also a grand experiment.  According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, the state legislature through bipartisan passage of SB 305 created the implementation guidelines which are being finalized now.  All unaffiliated voters will be mailed two full primary ballots comprised of each party’s primary candidates.  However, here’s the catch: Voters who choose to vote for either a Republican or Democrat candidate for governor may only vote down-ballot for that same party’s primary candidates for other offices, say U.S. House or state legislature.

In effect, the top-line gubernatorial race will have an inordinate impact on unaffiliated voter participation in down-ballot primary races.  For example, if an unaffiliated voter wants to vote for a Republican gubernatorial candidate, they are barred from voting for a Democratic congressional primary candidate. As a prospective congressional primary candidate in CD2, that aspect concerns me.

Why should the congressional or state legislative primary be impacted by the governor’s race?  Won’t independent voters want to vote independently?  Isn’t it likely that unaffiliated voters will be confused and spoil their ballots by picking and choosing various candidates in each race, regardless of party affiliation?

Or perhaps, unaffiliated voters will simply opt out since being forced to choose from only one party’s candidates goes against the very reason they’re not registered with one political party to begin with.  One wonders if unaffiliated voters were consulted and included as Prop. 108 and the SB305 implementation rules were created.