Colorado would join 14 other states in allowing those on parole to vote
(Apr. 2) — The House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, that would reinstate the voting rights of individuals on parole.
“Colorado is leading the nation when it comes to voter turnout and voter enfranchisement. We should be very proud of that fact,” said Rep. Herod. “We have the ability today as a legislative body to re-enfranchise more voters. Parolees are hardworking individuals who pay taxes, raise their families, contribute to their communities, and it’s about time we allow them to fully participate in our democracy.”
HB19-1266 clarifies that people who are on parole have completed their “full term of imprisonment” upon release from prison, thereby restoring their right to vote. The bill would restore voting rights to approximately 10,000 Coloradans who are now disenfranchised.
Parolees are currently denied the ability to vote because current law defines the “full term of imprisonment” to include the period of parole. The Colorado Supreme Court has stated that the state legislature has the authority to redefine the “full term of imprisonment.”
The bill passed the committee with a bipartisan vote of 7-2 and now heads to the House Appropriations committee.