Independent Voter Project

The Aspen Times: End Preference for Partisanship

Approximately 64 percent of “active” registered Colorado voters received primary-election ballots this year. Although I am “active,” I did not receive a ballot. As one of the 35 percent of Colorado voters “unaffiliated” with either major official party, all I received was a letter stating that I need to “affiliate” in order to vote.

The U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution both guarantee “freedom of association” — the freedom to associate with whom we please, which necessarily includes the freedom not to associate — to decline to associate with certain people or organizations. The U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution also provide for such rights as “due process” and “equal protection,” which guarantee the right of people to participate equally in the political process.

Colorado law, however, requires me to be a member of a political party in order to vote in the primary election. In order to exercise my right to participate in the political process, I must give up my right “not to associate.” In effect, I have to choose between First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights.

Read the full letter by Gwen Ballard, Founder of the Coalition of Independent Voters in Colorado, at the Aspen Times.

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