House Republicans debate existence of voter suppression, try to disenfranchise students and eligible voters
DENVER, CO– The House today advanced legislation to improve Colorado’s gold standard elections system.
“Colorado has the most secure election system in the country, and at the same time, we make it easy to vote, which has led to one of the highest voter turnout rates of any state,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. “One of the reasons for this is that we are always looking at how we can make our system better, and that’s what this bill does. As Republicans in the legislature try to eliminate our universal vote-by-mail ballot and push dangerous lies about the integrity of our elections, Democrats are committed to strengthening our system and making it easier for voters to navigate and ensure their voice is heard.”
“Today, we’re taking action to make Colorado’s gold standard election system even better,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton. “This bill improves our dropboxes and expands prohibitions on partisan electioneering at our polling stations. It modernizes the voter registration system to make it easier for individuals to register and helps college students learn where and how they can vote. It’s great to see Colorado’s bipartisan county clerks come together to make recommendations for how we can make our elections more secure and more accessible.”
SB21-250, sponsored by Representatives Susan Lontine and Yadira Caraveo, stems from the recommendations and findings of Colorado’s sixty-four county clerks, the Secretary of State, and other stakeholders. 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, streamline Colorado’s voter registration system, and increase transparency in recall elections. Additionally, it clarifies and expands prohibitions on electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place in order to protect against partisan election interference.
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 clarifies what constitutes “electioneering” and ensures that voters may not be challenged for frivolous reasons unrelated to their eligibility. 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 address up to date so fewer ballots will be returned as undeliverable.