Ranked Choice Voting Framework Bill Advances

DENVER, CO– The House State, Civic, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee today passed legislation that would create a statewide framework for ranked choice voting in municipal elections. Specifically, the bill allows towns and cities to run ranked-choice elections through a county coordinated election, and would ask the Secretary of State’s office to promulgate statewide rules regarding voting systems and auditing practices for towns or cities that opt in. The bill passed committee by a vote of 7-4.

“Colorado’s state-of-the-art elections system is a model for the rest of the nation because we’re not afraid to look for new avenues to expand voter access while keeping our elections secure,” said Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “This bill accomplishes that goal by allowing localities to run ranked choice elections through their counties and asks the Secretary of State’s office to establish an audit system to ensure the elections are working as they should. While Republicans introduce bill after bill to suppress the vote and limit electoral participation, my Democratic colleagues and I are working hard to improve our democracy and expand participation.” 

“As cities, counties, and municipalities across the state move towards ranked choice voting, it is imperative that we set up statewide guidelines and auditing to keep us all on the same page,” said Rep. Jeni James Arndt, D-Fort Fort Collins. “For many local governments, ranked choice voting makes perfect sense: it’s less expensive than a run-off election, increases civility during campaigns and ensures that the candidate with the most support wins the office. This bill improves our democracy the Colorado way, by setting a secure statewide framework and giving local governments the option to opt-in if the system makes sense for their communities.” 

HB21-1071 allows municipalities located in a single county to use ranked choice voting during coordinated elections starting in 2023, and municipalities located in multiple counties to implement it starting in 2025. The bill calls on the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office to promulgate statewide rules for the implementation and certification of this system, to establish an audit process for it, and to secure a software provider to be available for use by counties. If a municipality that has opted in to the ranked choice voting system is located in more than one county, counties are directed to work together to establish guidelines for the election, including the maximum number of candidates that voters will be allowed to rank on their ballots.