Colorado Comeback Investment, Elections Improvement Bills Signed Into Law

DENVER, CO — Governor Polis today signed two bills into law, which will allocate nearly a billion dollars in federal stimulus funds to help Colorado recover and build back stronger and improve Colorado’s gold-standard elections system. 

“In order to keep Colorado’s elections as a gold-standard model for the rest of the nation, it is crucial that we constantly improve our electoral laws and practices,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, sponsor of SB21-250. “By making improvements like expanding online and automatic voter registration and requiring colleges to provide information to enrolled students how to register or update their voter registration, this new law continues Colorado’s proud tradition of improving voter access while ensuring electoral integrity.” 

“While some legislatures across the country spent their time trying to roll back voting rights, here in Colorado we built on our progress and made it easier for every eligible voter to make their voice heard,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, sponsor of SB21-250. “Among the many provisions in this new law, I’m particularly excited that we’re making it easier for college students to learn where and how to vote while improving our registration system to make it easier for every voter to register. Thanks to the hard work of Colorado’s bipartisan county clerks and Secretary of State, this session we successfully enhanced our gold-standard electoral system.”

SB21-250 stems from the recommendations from Colorado’s 64 county clerks, the Secretary of State and other voting rights advocates. It makes clarifications, adjustments and improvements to ensure Colorado’s election system remains the gold standard. The bill will improve access to drop boxes and Voter Service and Polling Centers and streamline and expand access to Colorado’s voter registration system.. Specifically, the bill ensures that voters who are in dropbox lines at 7:00 PM are allowed to drop off their ballots, the same way voters who are in line by 7:00 PM at a voter service and polling center are able to cast a ballot. It also allows greater public input into the location of drop boxes.  

The bill modernizes the voter registration system to create a process for voters to register online with the last four digits of their Social Security numbers should they not have a driver’s license, requiring that information be matched and checked against the Social Security database in real time before proceeding to register the voter. The bill also requires institutions of higher education to provide information to enrolled students on their eligibility to vote and how to keep their voter registration up-to-date.

“Last week’s revenue forecast showed us just how much state and federal stimulus efforts have helped Colorado recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, sponsor of SB21-291 and Chair of the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. “The new law signed today will help us further leverage federal aid to attract new businesses to Colorado and continue our work to support workers and employers across the state. Now that this is law, I look forward to getting to work in the coming months to allocate the bulk of these funds and ensure that the Colorado Comeback creates lasting change and prosperity for small businesses and workers in our state.”

SB21-291, which is also sponsored by Representative Kevin Van Winkle, R-Highlands Ranch, creates the Economic Recovery and Relief Cash Fund to respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic. It allocates $848 million for economic stimulus and relief initiatives that will be recommended through an interim committee process. Additionally, it directs $40 million to the Strategic Fund in the Office of Economic Development and International Trade in order to incentivize companies to create jobs in Colorado and small businesses to relocate to rural Colorado. 

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