Conservative group sues Colorado House, Senate, alleging internal voting system breaks state law

The Denver Post: A conservative group is suing the Colorado House and Senate, plus their Democratic leadership and three lawmakers, for allegedly violating the state’s transparency law via the use of an internal voting system to rank Democratic legislators’ budgetary priorities.

The suit, announced Wednesday, was filed by the Public Trust Institute, a conservative nonprofit, and David Fornof, a Douglas County resident who’s being represented by the conservative Advance Colorado Institute. The suit accuses the Democratic members of the state House and Senate of breaking the state’s open-meeting law by using a “quadratic voting system” that allows legislators to privately rank legislation that will require state money. The practice, first reported by KUNC, lets Democratic lawmakers internally prioritize how to spend limited state funding on their various bills, which can then influence what bills are passed, pared back or shelved entirely.

Using a digital system, each Democratic legislator is given 99 digital tokens to rank bills. A legislator could theoretically spend all 99 of their tokens on one bill or spread them across multiple, depending on their priorities. The results of this year’s voting were produced upon request to the Denver Post, though they did not include an accounting of individual legislators’ rankings.

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