February 25, 2022

VOTE WITHOUT FEAR ACT ADVANCES

DENVER, CO – Legislation sponsored by Representatives Tom Sullivan and Jennifer Bacon to prevent armed voter intimidation at polling locations advanced in the House today on Second Reading. “Armed intimidation at voting locations is a threat to our democracy,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial. “The Vote Without Fear Act is common-sense legislation to protect voters against armed intimidation when they cast their ballot. We’ve seen cases of firearms being used to intimidate voters in Colorado; this cannot continue. The Vote Without Fear Act will protect access to the ballot and ensure every Coloradan can exercise their right to vote safely, fairly and freely.” “The Vote Without Fear Act protects voters and election workers from armed intimidation at polling places,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “Firearms being used to intimidate voters, especially voters of color and poll workers, is nothing new in this county, but we need to stop the threats towards those exercising their fundamental right to cast their vote. We’re serious about protecting our democracy, and that means prohibiting armed voter intimidation at polling places.” HB22-1086 which passed the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee by a vote of 7-4, protects the right to vote by prohibiting the open carry of firearms at or near polling places. Incidents of armed voter intimidation are rising across the country, and there have been several well-publicized situations where armed individuals have attempted to dissuade people from voting. These incidents have not just been targeted at voters, but also have attempted to intimidate nonpartisan election officials from doing their jobs. The legislation advanced today would extend protections that already exist for settings such as government buildings and legislative hearings to polling places, as well. Last year in Littleton, two men, one of whom was armed, filmed people dropping off their ballots, leading some voters to feel unsafe. Similar laws to prohibit the open carry of firearms at polling places have been adopted in Michigan in an effort to protect voters from armed intimidation.