Elections for a 21st Century Colorado

(April 15) – A bill to provide more options to Colorado voters, creating a system that’s more convenient and more secure, passed the House State, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee tonight on a 7-4 vote.

HB13-1303, the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, is sponsored by Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) and Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon (D-Denver). They testified that the bill will simplify and standardize the voting process in Colorado; save counties $9.5 million per year; increase voting options and access; and prevent fraud, ensuring the integrity of the democratic process.

Under the bill:

·        Mail ballots will be delivered to all active voters, and the “inactive – failed to vote” status will be eliminated. Gone will be the confusion, now rampant in Colorado, 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 drop-off 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 open 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 prompt updating of registration information and instant red-flagging of attempts to vote more than once.

“We will move this election system into the 21st century with technology that will save money and will protect the integrity of our voting system,” Rep. Hullinghorst told the committee.

The bipartisan Colorado County Clerks Association testified in favor of the bill. So did the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and representatives of the veterans and disabled communities.

“This bill enhances security and strengthens protection against fraud,” Rep. Pabon told the committee. “Election officials will have real-time access to the statewide voter file allowing them to see who has voted. With the robust protections already in place, the simplified elections system created by this bill will ensure Colorado has the cleanest elections possible.”

The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

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