The chance that Colorado’s unaffiliated voters might be able to participate in an open presidential primary in 2020 has dropped — at least for now — after state legislators Friday proposed a new compromise bill. Backed by a bipartisan group of sponsors, the Senate bill was racing to get through the General Assembly in the final days of the session, which ends Wednesday. It would reinstate the primary on the third Tuesday of March for presidential selections — but keep it closed to unaffiliated voters, as the major political parties prefer. The bill, which faces some resistance, raises the stakes before a potential November ballot measure that would force a statewide vote on the issue.
The Senate bill also is narrower than a House bill that would allow for participation by unaffiliated voters. That one has been held back in the Democratic House from a final floor vote because of uncertain prospects in the Republican Senate.
An organization called Let Colorado Vote is preparing a ballot measure that would let unaffiliated voters — Colorado’s largest group — participate easily in a mail-in primary. A win at the ballot box this fall would override any new primary law approved by the General Assembly.
… The bill quickly won 5-0 approval from the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It had a harder time getting through the Appropriations Committee, which advanced the bill later Friday on a 4-3 party-line vote; it was eligible for Senate floor consideration as soon as that night.