Legislature working to expand voter access

(May 2) – The House approved two bills today that would expand Colorado’s automatic voter registration and expand campaign finance rules.

Rep. Daneya Esgar and Rep. Kyle Mullica’s automatic voter registration bill will make Colorado voter rolls more accurate as information is updated.

“Colorado already has a leading elections system in the country, however, there are ways we can improve it even more. This bill ensures our voter roles are secure, accurate, up to date and that everyone who is eligible to vote can not only receive their ballot but send and access their ballot,” said Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo. “We need to make sure that anyone who is eligible to vote has no barriers to access the ballot and this bill ensures an accurate and secure way to accomplish this. Democracy works when we all get to participate and that’s what this bill does.”

SB19-235 will streamline the voter registration process at the DMV and reduce the opportunity for human error. Data from the DMV will be sent to the Secretary of State’s office to register only eligible voters. Those voters would be sent a postcard informing them that they will be registered if they take no action and gives them the options to decline the registration or affiliate with a political party at that time. Additionally, SB19-235 expands the automated voter registration from the current DMV system to add Medicaid services applicants, while ensuring security and medical privacy issues. This process would add only eligible voters who do not opt out of the registration. Through this process, more voters will get their ballots at the correct address therefore saving counties money from postage wasted on incorrect addresses.

“Automatic voter registration will be a good thing for Colorado. Our democracy at its very best when we have the most eligible voters participate in our elections,” said Rep. Mullica, D-Northglenn. “We are doing away with barriers to ensure a more accessible and inclusive election. Through this, we can continue to allow Colorado to take a lead in elections in our nation.”

SB19-235 was approved on a vote of 40-23. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The House also passed Rep. Mike Weissman’s bil to better enforce Colorado’s campaign finance laws.

“Unaffiliated voters, Republicans and Democrats alike are all tired of the growing influence of money in politics and want to see our broken campaign finance laws fixed.” said Rep. Weissman, D-Aurora. “This bill will help give voters more confidence that the system works for them – not special interests and mystery money groups.”

SB19-232 would codify within the Fair Campaign Practices Act the rules of the Secretary of State to enforce state laws concerning campaign finance. This includes specifying procedures for filing complaints, review of complaints by the elections division, processes for curing campaign finance law violations, the investigation of unresolved complaints, the conduct of hearings, audits by the division of campaign finance, and the issuance of advisory opinions by the Secretary of State.

Together, these provisions create a robust system to make sure that political campaigns and organizations abide by Colorado’s disclosure and disclaimer laws, so that voters can track who is spending money to influence elections.

The bill passed on a vote of 40-23. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.

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