Colorado Republicans aren’t getting much of a say in 2016

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A Republican caucus in Colorado on Tuesday.

DENVER — For Republicans in Colorado, Super Tuesday might be feeling a little ordinary.

Thanks to a contentious decision by the state GOP last summer, voters didn’t cast ballots for a primary contestant, but instead a delegate — bound to no candidate — to attend future meetings. There was no presidential preference poll, no big winner thanking Centennial State voters for putting a charge into his campaign.

RELATED: Results in Colorado caucuses, other Super Tuesday states

But what possible reason could Colorado Republicans have for choosing to essentially forfeit their plum seat at the 2016 primary table?

The answer traces back to a decision by the national party to tweak its formula entering this year’s contests. Going forward, the winner in any state that holds a preference poll would be required to bind its delegates to the winner.

In a statement this weekend, Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House responded to the “many questions” he had received about his executive committee’s decision.

“There is no such thing as a binding preference poll because when you actually award delegates via a poll it’s not a poll — it’s an election,” House wrote. “So what’s wrong with an election? Nothing if you are actually going to run it with all the precautions and security measures of an actual election.”

House called the prospect of using a “straw poll” an “unacceptable gamble,” citing the threat of fraud and abuse of “systemic loopholes.”

Instead, he explained, the state party would employ a “controlled and secure four-step process.”

This more arduous path to winning Colorado’s national delegates will also make it more difficult for supporters of a losing candidate — like those who backed Ron Paul in 2012 — to take advantage of nonbinding poll results.

But it’s not all bad news for those disappointed Colorado voters. With the GOP race potentially stretching into April, when county assemblies and a state convention will be held, the candidates might yet be inclined to schedule some time on the Rocky Mountain campaign trails.

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