Colorado continues to be a leader across the nation in passing pro-voter policies — the past two years were no different in the Centennial State. Due to pro-voter action taken by both the Colorado State Legislature and the administration, Colorado was able to further strengthen its already healthy voting environment. Because of the additional robust improvements made over the last two years, Colorado received an A on this year’s progress report.
Where Colorado Started in 2020
- Automatic Voter Registration: Back-End
- Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
- Same-Day Registration: Yes
- Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
- Vote by Mail: Vote by Mail
- Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
- Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
- ID Requirements: ID Requested, but Not Required
Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Colorado as of 2020, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other top tier states.
How Our Tier Compares:
2021: Two Years Ago
In 2021, the General Assembly passed significant pro-voter bills that make improvements to existing voter registration and vote by mail systems, as well as increased access for minority language voters and voters with certain sight-related disabilities.
- S 205, the Colorado Votes Act, improves the existing online voter registration system, clarifies that drop boxes must be available until the close of polls, requires county clerks to create plans to facilitate voting at county jails and detention centers, facilitates expansion of the state’s automatic voter registration system, and makes important changes to the vote center siting process.
- H 1011 increases language accessibility options for voters starting with the 2022 general election. It requires the secretary of state to create a multilingual hotline that will provide ballot translation services for voters. It requires counties that meet certain thresholds to provide ballots and sample ballots in minority languages and to include notices in mail ballot packages informing voters of how they can request minority language ballots.
- S 188 allows voters that are blind or have certain visual impairments to return their ballot electronically.
- Colorado published a transparent monthly report of their upgraded automatic voter registration. The data showed that the state’s implementation had been a success, resulting in an unprecedented expansion of voter registration.
2022: This Past Year
After some local election officials repeatedly ignored election protocols and procedures and tried to spread misinformation about the safety and accuracy of Colorado elections, the Assembly stepped up and passed important legislation to increase oversight and training requirements. The Assembly also passed critically important legislation to protect election workers from harassment and violence.
- S 153 increases the secretary of state’s oversight over local election officials, expands training and certification requirements for local election officials, implements new security measures for voting machines, and expands existing election crimes for officials that willfully fail to complete their election duties.
- H 1273 establishes new election misdemeanors for threatening, coercing, or intimidating election officials in an attempt to keep the officials from doing their duties. It allows election workers and their family to shield their personal information from public disclosure. It also creates a related misdemeanor that prohibits individuals from doxing election workers by publishing their personal contact information online in a way that could subject the election worker to imminent and serious harm.
- S 152 allows voters that are the victim of wildfires and other natural disasters to maintain their existing voter registration so long as they intend to return to their home after it is rebuilt or deemed habitable once again.
- Over the past two years, Colorado implemented an expansion of its online voter registration system to allow eligible citizens without a driver’s license or ID to use their social security number to register to vote.