Our view: Take Colorado off sidelines | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Take Colorado off sidelines

At issue

Revising the state statues through Proposition 107 to standardize presidential primary elections in Colorado

Our view

All of Colorado’s registered voters should have a chance to vote in a presidential primary

Colorado voters witnessed a confusing and tumultuous political process in spring 2016 that saw controversy spring up around both the Democratic and Republican state caucus procedures used to assign national convention delegates to presidential candidates. In the wake of that disputed process, we think it’s time for Colorado voters to get off the sidelines and approve Proposition 107, which would amend state statues to establish a presidential primary to be held in March of each presidential election year.

Our view

All of Colorado’s registered voters should have a chance to vote in a presidential primary

In addition, Proposition 107 would allow unaffiliated voters — who, at 34 percent, now represent the largest block of active voters in the state — to choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican presidential primary. That step is critical to ensuring political freethinkers, many of them young voters, remain engaged.

If you can recall previously voting in a presidential primary in Colorado, it’s likely because the state had primary elections in 1992, 1996 and 2000. Since then, political parties here have chosen delegates for their national conventions through a caucus system that’s only open to party members, and typically, to the most active members of the two dominant parties.

On the Republican side, that led to Colorado pledging all 34 of its delegates to Ted Cruz, who was mathematically blocked from the nomination before the delegates ever arrived in Cleveland. In hindsight, it’s not surprising that the party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, called the Colorado process “a rigged system.”

On the Democratic side, where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won 39 delegates through the caucus process — compared to 27 for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — many voters were left scratching their heads about the “super delegate” process that gave Clinton the upper hand.

Proposition 107 would create a presidential primary, separate from the traditional June primary, with the choice of presidential nominee the sole question on the ballot. The winner of the primary would receive all of that party’s delegates to the national convention, and delegates would be bound to the winning candidate.

Voters who wish to remain independent of political parties would not be required to affiliate with a political party to vote in one of the primaries.

State and local governments would pay for the special presidential primary election, and we think the estimated $5.4 million cost will be well worth giving Colorado voters a clear say in choosing the presidential nominees of the two major political parties.

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