Lily Tang Williams, a candidate for U.S. Senate from Colorado, recently learned that she will be excluded from the state debate forum to be held on September 10, 2016, because the number of voters registered Libertarian in Colorado falls short of 1% by 0.023%.
According to Club 20, a “non-partisan” coalition that is organizing the debate, their bylaws require each candidate at the debate to be representing at least 1% of the population of Colorado. The number of voters registered Libertarian in Colorado is currently .977% of the general population, but 30% of voters in the state have no party affiliation whatever. Who will represent them at the debate?
Lily Tang Williams grew up in China under Mao. She is staunchly libertarian, and she is a deeply moving public speaker. Her anti-Statist sentiments are passionate and come from personal experience.
Club 20 in Colorado has its own agenda, which is evident from their online announcement on the debates. “The Fall meeting is a great place for members, guests and others to meet local, state and federal elected and appointed officials.”
If somebody is not already an incumbent, the organizers are not considering the opportunity to meet that candidate as something to be desired. Non-partisan as a self-descriptive label for Club 20 may be code for bi-partisan — meaning either a Democrat or Republican.
Libertarian Party of Colorado Chair Jay North stated:
Club 20 claims to be non-partisan yet is failing to give adequate representation to third-party and independent voices while similar non-partisan groups, such as Action 22 in Pueblo, have no such Bylaws requirements. The significant numbers of Coloradans who have made clear statements by their refusal to affiliate with either of the two old parties deserve to have an alternate view heard. The electoral system has become a joke where minor party and independent voices are suppressed by exclusion from debates, polling, and coverage creating the classic chicken and egg scenario: meet arbitrary litmus tests in order to be included, and yet without being included in polls, coverage, and debates, it is nearly impossible to meet these conditions—and this is by design. There are over 35,000 Libertarians in Colorado that have just been told that they don’t matter—and specifically, there are about eight western counties in the area covered by Club 20 in which registered Libertarians do in fact exceed 1% of registered voters .
Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson is struggling with a similar bias in order to be allowed into the national debate, but in his case he is expected to get 15% in the polls. On the national level for inclusion in the debates, it is not registration as a Libertarian that counts, but rather the percentage of support in popular polls.
For those interested in changing the ruling concerning Lily Tang Williams’ inclusion in the debate, the number to call for Club 20 information is 970-242-3264.
Perhaps if enough people register their protest, the private club called Club 20 may change its mind and allow the people of Colorado to meet candidates who are not yet incumbents or running with the in-crowd of Republicans and Democrats.
Follow Aya Katz on Twitter. For more