(May 10) – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a landmark bill today creating an elections system that’s simpler, more convenient, more secure and less expensive.
HB13-1303, the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, was sponsored by Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) and Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon (D-Denver), with Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo).
The new law, drafted with the strong support of the bipartisan Colorado County Clerks Association, will simplify and standardize the voting process in Colorado; save counties $9.5 million per election; increase voting options and access; and prevent fraud, ensuring the integrity of the democratic process.
“I thank the governor, whose signature has made Colorado a national model for an election system that uses modern technology to save money and enhance protections against fraud and abuse,” Rep. Hullinghorst said.
Under the new law:
• Mail ballots will be delivered to all active voters, and the “inactive – failed to vote” status will be eliminated. So will the widespread confusion seen in Colorado in 2012 and previous elections over whether a voter, even one who has signed up for all-mail voting, should expect to receive a ballot in the mail.
• Voters may return their ballots by mail or in person at a Voter Service and Polling Center or other designated dropoff location, during early voting or on Election Day. Registered voters who show up at a voter service center without their mailed ballot will be issued a new ballot that can be voted on the spot.
• Voter registration will be available to all eligible adults who have been residents of the state for 22 days before Election Day. Online voter registration will be available until eight days before Election Day, and after that — including on Election Day – voters may register at clerks’ offices and voter service centers.
• Secure online voter registration databases will permit real-time updating of registration information and instant red-flagging of attempts to vote more than once.
“This new and simplified elections system will ensure that Colorado has the cleanest elections possible,” Rep. Pabon said. “By making voting easier for all eligible citizens, we’ll increase participation in the election process. Our democracy works best when the greatest number of people participate in it.”
“I’m thrilled and proud to have been a sponsor of this bill, which saves money, increases voter access and participation and improves the integrity of the process,” Sen. Giron said.
Also signed by the governor today was HB13-1135, by Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), which allows 16-year-olds to preregister to vote.
“Getting kids invested in the democratic process will help turn them into voters for the rest of their lives,” Rep. Singer said.