Voting bill lauded as money-saver fails to win approval in House panel
DENVER — Voters who prefer more than one candidate in nonpartisan elections might appreciate the idea of a new voting concept called approval voting.
Approval voting allows voters to choose more than one candidate in the same race, particularly if there are multiple candidates for more than one seat on a board.
They might have had that opportunity except that a bill that would have allowed the practice died in a House committee on Wednesday.
HB1062 had all the elements to get passed.
It applied only to local, nonpartisan elections such as special districts, city councils and school boards. It was sponsored by a Democrat and a Republican. It had the support of numerous third-party officials. It was entirely optional. And it could save local governments money in running elections, its supporters said.
Regardless, a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee turned it down.
“This voting method really starts to work when there are multiple candidates,” said Harvey Branscomb, representing the elections advocacy group, Coloradans for Voting Integrity. “Where this is really interesting and useful, and where it’s likely to be opted for in local elections, is six, seven candidates, eight candidates, large numbers of candidates where the number of votes collected would be minimal for any one candidate.”
Branscomb said he would be surprised if the measure were to be killed on a partisan vote, as a similar one was last year.
It didn’t. It died on a 3-8 vote, with one Republican joining the majority Democrats on the 11-member panel.
The measure had the support of representatives of several third-parties that operate in the state, such as the Green Party and Libertarian Party, but no one from the Democratic or Republican parties testified in support of the idea.