According to the above post, Mr. Eli Bremer claims the Colorado Representatives listed voted in their own selfish interests to limit the choice of voters. Were those listed really attempting to eliminate the voice of Republican voters? Let’s discuss the vote to extract the Colorado Republican Party from the “Open Primary.”
First, the Republican Caucus is held in March. Thousands of Republicans will join together by their precincts to elect precinct leaders and delegates to represent them at the County, District and State-Level Assemblies. Participation in the Caucus is open to any properly registered Republican voter. Electing representatives at this foundational level is the nature of our Representative Republic, contrary to being a “democracy” as posited by Mr. Bremer. A Republic preserves minority Rights, while a democracy governs by majority rule. The distinction is important, and it is important to note that delegates are elected by their peers, not selected by a party boss.
There are two ways to be advanced to the General Election ballot in November—a candidate must either make his or her case before the Assembly of delegates (who were elected by their precincts) and secure at least 30% of the delegate vote, or petition-on to the ballot. Petitioning-on can be difficult, so candidates often pay signature-gathering companies $10-$20 per signature, so the practice is euphemistically referred to as “buying on” to the ballot. There is also a “hybrid” process where an individual with a successfully completed petition presents him or herself before the Assembly of delegates, but then must achieve at least 10% of delegate support to advance.
The Primary election in Colorado is where each party reduces its list of potential candidates to advance a single candidate to the ballot of the General Election in November. The Primary ballot will first list the potential candidates from the Assembly who secured 30% (or 10% if hybrid) of the delegate vote, followed by any candidate who petitioned-on to the ballot. Colorado has an “open Primary” system meaning that Unaffiliated* voters are allowed to vote in the Primary of either the Republican or Democrat party, but not both. Unaffiliated voters outnumber both R & D voters by approximately 2 to 1, and increasingly trend “Left” so they can have a significant impact on determining the candidate-values advanced to the general election. Conversely, the County, District and State-Level Assemblies are limited to registered party members more likely to share the values of the party platform.
Colorado's primaries are determined via plurality vote, meaning that the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes cast wins the primary election even if he or she does not win an outright majority.
(*prior to Proposition-108, Unaffiliated Voters were allowed to register for the preferred ballot instead of receiving two ballots, with at least one destined for the trash. This costs counties an additional $5million every two years of taxpayer money)
The vote to extract the Colorado Republican Party from the “Open Primary” failed on Saturday, Sep 30, despite the harsh reality that Republicans have lost 23 seats since the first open-primary in 2018 (perhaps explaining Governor Hickenlooper’s(D) strong endorsement of the plan). While 64% of the State Central Committee (SCC) voted to opt-out of the open primary, the 36% minority voted to remain with the open-Primary system. Currently. The vote threshold to opt-out is greater than 75% of the TOTAL SCC membership, which means that all non-votes have a pre-assigned value by law of “no” to exercising the legally defined option of not participating in the open-Primary, and returning candidate selection to an independent party function.
(eg, In a 100 member SCC, 75 “yes” votes against 25 non-votes would lose)
There was some consternation around the rule that non-votes would be sided with the majority vote. This may seem odd, but in a normal election, non-votes are not counted against the majority, as they would have here because the denominator is the TOTAL SCC membership. This put the value of the non-vote in the hands of the SCC instead of the special interests who spent $5.million to lock us into the open-Primary forever. The rule did, however, create success in encouraging over 97% voter representation, thus ensuring not-voting did not determine the outcome.
The roll-call vote meant that everyone could leave the election with a consensus in the accuracy of outcome. Of course this list can be used by both sides against the other. As noted above, there is already a vocal political activist in El Paso County vowing to use the open-primary against some of Colorado's strongest conservative values-based representatives (https://libertyscorecardco.us/#/) for being in agreement with vast majority of the SCC, but in disagreement with him.
Since a typical petition costs $10-$20 to secure each signature, and can require thousands of signatures, It is apparently worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the activist to advance a slate of candidates to the Primary ballot who are unwilling to present themselves to the citizens they would supposedly to represent--individuals who don’t feel they could secure the support of 30% of the delegates who had been elected to those positions by thousands of their neighbors. It is certainly an important consideration that a candidate will owe their allegiance to the delegates or dollars that put them on the ballot. (Petition Signature Requirements (state.co.us))
Unfortunately, many of those who sign petitions can be uneducated about the candidates and the process. When we allow for petitions, it actually bypasses the voice of the people.
If the legally defined option to “Opt-Out” of the open-Primary had passed, the COGOP would have conducted Caucus & Assembly normally—-properly registered Caucus attendees would still elect delegates to be their representatives at the Assemblies. Access to the ballot through Assembly would still be free, and a properly registered individual could still become a candidate that day. Candidates garnering at least 30% of delegate support at Assembly would have entered into a run-off election instead of going straight to the State-run open-primary. The run-off election would have been conducted using GOP funds instead of citizen-extracted tax dollars and would be open to all properly registered Republicans.
Since the “opt-out” did NOT pass with 75% of the TOTAL SCC, there will be over 2 months of Republicans campaigning against other Republicans, and other “Republicans” between the Assemblies and the open-Primary. This will invariably exhaust significant time, talent and treasure, expending hundreds and thousands of dollars before mounting a challenge to the Democrat ticket.
Unfortunately, a candidate whose way was paid-on to the ballot to avoid being examined by Republicans against the values and platform of the party will be incentivized to turn their focus on the Unaffiliated-Left, primarily through media. Consider the cost of 2 million UAF voters across Colorado, each receiving even just 10 pieces of mail, even at only $1 apiece, in an election cycle. That is a millions of dollars of political capital destined straight for the trash.
Besides being fiscally draining and physically exhausting, the open-primary allows for candidates who don’t support the Republican Party values on the ballot since left leaning UAF voters can overwhelm actual Republican voters.
The “opt-out” option would have better utilized our finite resources, decreased our reliance on political investors and special interests, and most importantly reversed the erosion of the Republican Party platform values.