Colorado has a strong commitment to the voting process with its mail-in voting system, but could further strengthen automatic voter registration options.
EveryDistrict Action Fund is not currently tracking any pro-voting legislation in Colorado. Contact your legislator using the FIND MY LEGISLATOR button below and encourage them to introduce legislation that would implement one of EveryDistrict Action Fund’s recommendations for Colorado.
Automatic Voter Registration- Colorado provides automatic voter registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles. In the 2018 election cycle, there was a failed attempt to put forth a statewide ballot initiative: The Colorado Automatic Voter Registration via Public Entities Initiative. This amendment would have provided for automatic voter registration for individuals interacting with public entities that collect a resident’s legal name, age, residence, citizenship, identification information, and signature. The information would then be forwarded to the Colorado Secretary of State, who would ask if the individual wants to opt-out of voter registration or add an affiliation with a political party. If the person does not respond to the inquiry, the individual is automatically registered to vote. Unfortunately, this initiative did not reach the ballot in 2018.
RECOMMENDATION: Expand Automatic Voter Registration as proposed in the Public Entities Initiative.
Online Voter Registration- Online voter registration is provided for all voters, with voters as young as 16 able to pre-register.
Same-Day Registration- Same-day registration is permitted for all voters, though the voter must register eight days before the election to receive a ballot by mail.
Voter ID Requirement- As a state that conducts voting by mail, Colorado requires residents to provide a valid form of identification to vote in-person. This identification is not required to include a photo and a range of forms of identification are accepted.
RECOMMENDATION: While a range of identifications are permitted, reduce Voter ID requirements due to their suppressive impact.
Early Voting- As a state that conducts voting by mail, Colorado still allows early voting the 15 days prior to an election at Voter Service and Polling Centers. Voters may vote in-person on Election Day during polling hours.
No Excuse Absentee- As a state that conducts voting by mail, Colorado allows all voters to vote “absentee” without an excuse.
Mail-In Voting- Elections are conducted by mail in Colorado.
Felon Re-Enfranchisement- The right to vote is immediately restored upon completion of sentence and parole, but the returning citizen is required to re-register online or by mail to vote.
RECOMMENDATION: Allow returning citizens to re-register immediately following their prison sentence. Or, better yet, follow the lead of Maine and Vermont and forego disenfranchisement altogether.
Voter Bill of Rights- No general voter bill of rights is published. A document is available for residents who have disabilities so that they know their rights when it comes to voting in the state.
RECOMMENDATION: Develop a voter bill of rights, post it prominently on the Secretary of State website, and make it available as part of mail-in ballots.
Polling Hours- Polls are open on Election Day from 7 am to 7 pm, for a total of 12 hours of voting time.
RECOMMENDATION: Expand to 14 hours, consistent with other leading states.
Wait Time Service Standard- Like other states, Colorado does not have a wait time standard for polling places. However, the mail-in approach to elections substantially reduces waits associated with voting.
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