Republican elephant (copy)

Colorado Republicans will propose internal bylaws to ensure those who can’t fork over cash fees can still participate in the electoral process, the state GOP chair said.

State Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, proposed House Bill 1046 last month, through which delegates or alternates wouldn’t have to pay “badge fees” to vote in political party caucuses or assemblies. The House approved the bill on a second vote earlier this month, but it then stalled out.

With no firm sponsors in the Senate, Williams postponed a third and final House vote on the measure.

Instead, he said he’d give political parties a chance to rectify the issue internally. 

Only Republican parties across the state charge the fees. As such, the party has pushed back substantially on Williams’ proposal. All the same, Jeff Hays, state GOP chair, said internal bylaws will be proposed to ensure no Republicans are prevented from participating if they’re unable or unwilling to pay the fees.

“We have a certain way of doing things,” Hays said. “We do not deny people the ability to participate if they have an inability to pay. We do not need the Legislature bossing us around. We have historically handled this internally.”

Those bylaws will be proposed and voted on in late March, when the party also elects new leadership, Hays said.

Hays did not seek re-election as the statewide chair.

“We’re crafting (the bylaw language) now and we’re going to consider it,” Hays said. “We’ll see what happens on March 30th.”

Williams has postponed his bill until April in the hopes that the new bylaws are passed by two-thirds of committee members.

Hays noted that Williams is one of those voting members, so he'll have his say as well. 

“He’s experienced some blowback on this,” Hays said. “It was very insulting to the county parties.”

Many Republicans said the bill had the potential to bankrupt state and local Republican parties and could diminish the eligibility of their party’s candidates.

Some Republicans did sided with Williams, however. Most notable was U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who is vying to serve as the next Colorado GOP chairman.

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