Letter to the Editor: Another view on party assemblies

Dear Editor:
We would like to offer some clarifying comments concerning county party assemblies in connection with last week’s “From My Window” column.
County assemblies were held in all 64 Colorado counties as required by state election law in Part 6 of Article 4, Title 1 of the Colorado Revised Statues. Four of the 64 counties have adopted home rule charters, so processes differ somewhat. At least one of them, the city and county of Broomfield, fills some of their offices by appointment by their council.
Our county assembly process begins with the election of delegates and alternates from attendees at the precinct party caucuses in March, an open process in which any registered elector may choose to participate.
The representatives from each precinct commit to attending the assembly, listening to the candidates and casting a vote for their choice. Historically, at the county level, only when there are three or more candidates for one office does a candidate fail to receive the required 30 percent to be placed on the primary ballot by assembly for their party.
There are options for candidates outside of the party assembly process which include circulating and filing a candidate petition. Our current District I County Commissioner (Shawn Bolton) petitioned onto the ballot via party petition in 2010 along with several other candidates. Unaffiliated candidates also have the option to petition on the General Election ballot.
Failure to follow state statute and party rules is not an option for the Primary Election, which is essentially a run-off election within each party. The assembly process is simply one method to be placed on the Primary Election ballot.
The winning Primary Election candidate, who may have been placed on the ballot by assembly or party petition, is then nominated to represent the party on the General Election ballot and will go up against opposing party candidates and unaffiliated candidates.
The public needs to be aware that both party chairmen and the county clerk are committed to assisting candidates in their quest for public service. The participants in Saturday’s assemblies who devoted their time to the candidates and process openly expressed their desire to see all willing candidates placed on the primary ballot — and that is exactly what happened.
Dave Smith
Republican Party Chairman
Joe Dungan
Former Democratic Party Chairman
Nancy R. Amick
Rio Blanco County Clerk