A measure to implement Colorado’s new open primaries cleared the Colorado Senate and a House committee in rapid succession Monday, after lawmakers reached a late deal tweaking a controversial provision that would ask independent voters to declare a party preference. With the changes, the path now seems clear for Senate Bill 305 to become law. But it would retain a few key, disputed pieces from the original measure: unaffiliated voters still will be asked before the election if they prefer one party’s ballot to the other, and the party primary they choose to vote in still will be a matter of public record. When the measure was introduced, it immediately was assailed by supporters of open primaries, including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Let Colorado Vote, who complained that it would undermine what Colorado voters intended when they passed two ballot measures opening the state’s party primaries to unaffiliated voters.
At issue is whether election officials should be able to track unaffiliated voters by which primary they participate it, much as affiliated voters register with one party or another. State elections officials and the two political parties argue that voters have to be tracked by party to ensure the integrity of the two primary elections, while county clerks and backers of open primaries say it isn’t necessary.
“By declaring a preference, you really become an affiliated voter,” said Kelly Brough, CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think that’s what voters said they wanted in November.”
Full Article: Open primary bill advances, with changes – The Denver Post.