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Kill Bill to Kill Minor Parties | Letter to the Editor

Kill Bill to Kill Minor Parties | Letter to the Editor


Yellow Scene welcomes Letters to the Editor and is happy to publish your thoughts, within limit. Please send all love letters, hate mail, curious thoughts, and open letters to [email protected].

Letter to the Editor by Gary Swing

State Senate Bill 23-101 would effectively kill all minor political parties in Colorado. It should be killed in committee. Both establishment parties have demonstrated they will stoop to any level to exclude independent and alternative party candidates from participating in the political process.

Corrupt, dishonest legislators led by Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder) already destroyed ballot access for independent candidates in Colorado. They  embedded independent candidate suppression provisions in long, broad based packages of election law changes. This includes HB 19-1278 and SB 21-250.

The United States generally has the world’s worst ballot access laws as a first barrier to obstruct candidates from participating in an archaic 19th Century political system that was designed in secret by slaveholders to preserve their own wealth and power.

From 1997 through 2019, Colorado had some of the best independent and minor party ballot access laws of any US state. Democratic Party state legislators cynically destroyed this minor reform under the radar by hiding it in long bills backed by so-called “progressive” organizations.

Section 13 of HB 19-1278 was designed to keep independent candidates off Colorado’s ballot.

Two words were included in Section 83 on the last page of a 63 page bill (SB 21-250) to secretly repeal ballot access for independent presidential candidates without anyone noticing. There was zero media coverage of Stephen Fenberg’s corrupt maneuver to keep independent presidential candidates off Colorado’s ballot.

The current Republican effort to eliminate all alternative political parties looks like a scorched earth tactic by an extremist faction to burn any remaining shred of democratic process to the ground.

Both the Democrats and Republicans are determined to destroy any remaining  legitimacy in Colorado’s Fool’s Gold Standard of a sham election system.

Fundamental election reform is critical. The most essential reform would be to institute a Hybrid Proportional Representation voting system to elect Colorado’s General Assembly, as proposed by the election reform group Best Democracy. This system would combine a single transferable vote in seven member districts for a unicameral legislature with a compensatory party list system, empowering nearly all voters to elect representatives of their choice.

See https://www.bestdemocracy.org/proportional-representation/hybrid.html for details.

Everyone should have fair representation in government.

Under any voting system, reasonable ballot access laws are essential. Colorado’s current petition signature requirements are absurd. They are designed to ensure that only political campaigns backed by big money are able to get off the ground.

Ballot access requirements for candidates of any affiliation should be vastly reduced. I suggest giving candidates the option of either submitting a reasonable number of petition signatures or paying a nominal fee for ballot access. The existing option of nomination by party assembly should also be continued.

I propose the following ballot access options for candidates of any affiliation:

  • Presidential tickets: 1,000 petition signatures or $1,000.
  • Statewide offices: 500 signatures or $500.
  • Congressional Districts: 200 signatures or $200.
  • General Assembly, District Attorney: 50 signatures or $50
  • County offices: The lesser of 50 signatures or 2% of the last vote cast for the office; or $50.

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