April 13, 2022

JOINT RELEASE: SIGNED! LEGISLATION TO PRESERVE VOTING OPTIONS FOR COLORADANS DISPLACED BY MARSHALL FIRE

New law preserves voting access for both renters and property owners displaced by the fire


DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation into law that will allow Coloradans impacted by the Marshall Fire to use their home address on their voter registration if their home was destroyed.

“The Marshall Fire forced thousands of Coloradans out of permanent residences and into temporary housing. Knowing that the rebuilding and recovery process will take months and even years, we need to be thinking ahead to make sure voter registration options are preserved,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “Every Coloradan deserves to cast a safe, secure vote in every election, and this law will ensure that we’re protecting the sacred right to vote for those impacted by the Marshall Fire, while establishing a clear process to abide by in the event of future disasters.”

“With Colorado’s primaries just around the corner, this law assures voters displaced by the Marshall Fire that they’ll be able to vote in their communities, regardless of if they owned a home or rented before being forced to evacuate,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “This law will preserve access to Colorado’s gold standard elections for every voter displaced by the Marshall Fire and ensures they have a voice in who represents them.”

“This important bill will provide Colorado voters who are temporarily displaced by natural disasters like the Marshall Fire the certainty they need to continue using their home address to vote,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “No person should have to worry about accessing the ballot box during such an incredibly difficult time, and these voters should be able to cast a ballot on the issues and candidates for the community that they truly call home.”

“Part of what makes the Colorado system of voting a national gold standard is its flexibility and ease of receiving and returning a mail ballot,” Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Boulder County said. “This law will ensure those impacted by the Marshall Fire have the flexibility they need to continue voting easily where they always have. This bill represents one of the many ways the legislature is providing support to impacted Boulder County residents and is an important piece of short term recovery. I’m grateful to have partnered with Clerk Fitzpatrick to quickly bring this bill to fruition.”

“My heart still breaks for the Coloradans who are struggling to rebuild their lives after losing everything they had,” said Rep. Tracey Bernett, D-Louisville. “This law offers voters displaced by the fire the peace of mind that they will still be able to easily cast their ballot in their communities.”

SB22-152, allows registered Colorado voters displaced by the Marshall Fire and temporarily living at another location to use their home address on their voter registration if their home was destroyed or unfit to live in. To receive their ballot, voters can update their voter registration with the Colorado Secretary of State using an alternative mailing address and leave their residential address untouched.

The law preserves voting options for both renters and homeowners. This law will also solidify a standard practice commonly used by county clerks following natural disasters. SB22-152 passed committee unanimously and will extend voter protections to Colorado voters displaced from natural disasters including floods, fires and tornadoes.

More than 900 homes were destroyed in Louisville and Superior during the Marshall Fire in December 2021, resulting in the displacement of thousands of Coloradans.