House Committee Approves Automatic Voter Registration Bill

Colorado has some of the highest voter participation in the county

(Apr. 25) – The House State, Military, and Veterans Affairs committee passed an automatic voter registration bill sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar and Rep. Kyle Mullica. This 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. There’s movement across the nation to automatically be registered to vote. Under this bill if you don’t want to be, you can opt out,” 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. Through this, we will keep Colorado in the forefront of being a role model in high election participation.”

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. We are doing away with barriers to ensure a more accessible and inclusive election. Through this, we can continue to ensure our state remains a national leader in the modernization of our elections,” said Rep. Mullica, D-Northglenn. “We should take pride in expanding the right to vote and this bill does just that.”

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold testified in support on SB19-235:

“Growing up working class, I know how important it is for every vote to count and for all Coloradans’ voices to be heard. I really believe government should meet people where they are,” Sec. Griswold told the committee. “This legislation continues Colorado’s commitment to modernize and secure our elections. Because of this program, our voter rolls are more accurate. The system that we have is designed to only allow eligible voters to register. It also ensures that when state offices share data, it is only under the strictest security. This is a very positive step forward for our state.”

SB19-235 was approved by a vote of 6-3, with every Republican voting against keeping our voting system accessible and inclusive. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.