Passed by Colorado voters via ballot initiative in 2016, Proposition 108 allows unaffiliated voters to vote in partisan primaries for major parties without declaring affiliation to that party.
As of Aug. 1, 47% — or 1.82 million of Colorado’s 3.88 million registered voters — are unaffiliated, making unaffiliated voters the largest group of voters in the state.
The complaint alleges that Proposition 108 violates both the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and requests that the court block the enforcement of Proposition 108 and declare it unconstitutional.
The CO GOP argues that Proposition 108 violates its right to free speech ”by forcing its political association to deem as its nominee for office a candidate chosen in an open primary election in which unaffiliated voters are allowed to participate.”
The complaint further alleges that allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in partisan primaries violates the 14th Amendment by “diluting” the “votes cast by [the CO GOP’s] members when the party has not determined for itself to permit voting by those who are not affiliated with, and have deliberately chosen not to affiliate with, the party.” The CO GOP also asserts that Proposition 108 imposes “differential treatment,” which in turn “infringes upon the fundamental voting rights of major political parties and the voters affiliated with them.”
The new Colorado lawsuit was filed by an interesting cast of conservative lawyers including, John Eastman, the disgraced lawyer for former President Donald Trump, Republican National Committeeman for Colorado Randy B. Corporon and Anthony T. Caso, who is part of the leadership at the far-right Claremont Institute.
This lawsuit, which could potentially stand to disenfranchise over a million registered voters in Colorado, comes at an contentious time for Eastman specifically. Currently, Eastman faces 11 charges from the California State Bar due to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Just yesterday, Trump was indicted for his efforts to subvert the will of the American people during the 2020 election. Importantly, the indictment also identifies co-conspirators and describes an attorney “who devised and attempted to implement a strategy to leverage the Vice President’s ceremonial role overseeing the certification proceeding to obstruct the certification of the presidential election.” Even while facing disbarment and potential other legal trouble, the conservative right continues to relentlessly attack voting rights.
This lawsuit is the second lawsuit brought by Republicans with ties to Jan. 6 challenging the primary system ahead of 2024. Just recently in Nevada, a judge denied the Nevada Republican Party’s (NV GOP) request to block a state law mandating parties to hold primaries for the 2024 presidential election. Notably, the attorney representing the NV GOP in this lawsuit is former failed Nevada attorney general candidate and conspiracy theorist, Sigal Chattah, who similar to Eastman, has “significant ties” to the conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election.