occasional blog posts & opinion pieces by desrowVISUALS photographer Chris Goodwin
“Winner Take All” Primary A Bad Idea – NO on Initiative #107
If you participated in last March’s precinct caucuses, or saw the news stories about them, you surely remember the long lines and overflowing rooms where the voting took place. Hundreds, probably thousands of people were disenfranchised because they were still in line when the voting began or got tired of waiting and went home. Many more couldn’t attend at all because they work at night, have kids to take care of, or didn’t want to make the 3 hour or more time commitment. All told, less than 14% of registered Democrats cast votes for their party’s nominee for President! Unaffiliated voters, 35% of Coloradans, were left out of the process altogether.
On this year’s election ballot, there is an initiative, #107, that appears to address these problems, but a closer reading tells a different story. Although #107 creates a Presidential Primary and opens up the process to unaffiliated voters it also contains what I think is a fatal flaw and a giant step backwards for the democratic process, it makes the primary “winner take all”! Instead of candidates being awarded delegates based on the percentage of the votes they won, the top vote getter in the race gets ALL the delegates, 100% of them!
Imagine a three, four, or five person race, not unusual in Presidential contests, where the top vote getter receives 35% of the vote…they would get 100% of the delegates despite the fact that a total of 65% of the people voted for someone else! It’s conceivable that in a multi-candidate race, the top vote getter, “the winner”, could get even fewer votes than that but under “winner take all” they would still get 100% of the delegates!
A “winner take all” primary is no way to choose a candidate for President of the United States and not my idea of democracy, do you agree? If you do, VOTE NO on #107 and hopefully we can get it right with another initiative in 2 years, in plenty of time for the next Presidential election. VOTE NO ON #107!
Chris Goodwin is a retired state employee and a longtime local political activist.
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