Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State criticized Democratic state legislators Monday over a sweeping elections reform bill, which he says was drafted without his involvement. The Democrat-sponsored bill got initial approve in a House committee on a 7-4 party-line vote with Democrats in favor on Monday evening. The hearing drew dozens to the Capitol. House bill 1303 would make a series of changes to Colorado elections law which supporters say will make voting easier. Opponents say the bill is unnecessary and opens the door to more possibility of voter fraud.
Articles about voting issues in Colorado.
Colorado could change the way America votes, but first the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act has to make its way through the Colorado statehouse. And that’s going to be a tall order. The ground-breaking proposal would send mail ballots to every voter, allow Election Day registration and put all the counties on a real-time statewide database that supporters say would weed out cheaters who try to vote twice. The bill cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday evening when it passed the House’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee by a 7-4 party line vote, after more than seven and a half hours of testimony from dozens of public officials and otherwise private individuals on each side. it now moves to the House appropriations committee.
Colorado: Rep. Hullinghorst says elections measure would modernize voter-registration, ballot-casting systems | Longmont Times-Call
House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, the sponsor of a bill that would move Colorado to a predominantly mail-ballot system, said Thursday that the measure amounts to “a 21st Century approach to voting.” Gunbarrel Democrat Hullinghorst’s House Bill 1303, which was introduced Wednesday, would require Colorado’s county clerks to send mail ballots to all eligible registered voters, including those who under current law are on “inactive” lists because they didn’t participate in a recent general election. People could mail their completed ballots back or drop them off at designated locations. Voters who prefer showing up in person to cast their ballots still could do so, at early-voting centers before Election Day, or at centralized voting locations on Election Day. County clerks would no longer have to provide neighborhood precinct polling places. Hullinghorst said her bill — entitled the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act” — would provide “full voting options for all of the voters in the state of Colorado” while simplifying and standardizing voter-registration and ballot-casting systems for would-be voters and for county clerks.
Colorado legislators are contemplating changes to their election laws this week that may result in higher turnout. A report issued by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler figures prominently in the deliberations, which triumphantly touts “the most successful (election) in Colorado history,” implying that no changes are needed. However, claims in the report that Colorado’s voter turnout increased compared to 2008, while turnout declined elsewhere are not supported by the facts. I reassess the report with the best available data — my United States Elections Project – which the Colorado Secretary of State’s office analyzed selectively. With Colorado considering changes to its election laws, policy makers should make their decisions with the most accurate information.
Heading into the final month of a highly partisan and controversial legislative session in which they’ve already passed civil unions, in-state tuition and gun control legislation, Democrats aren’t letting up. On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers will introduce another bill guaranteed to spark yet another political battle royale: an omnibus elections bill that will allow residents to register to vote as late as Election Day and direct county clerks to mail ballots to every voter. “This is a partisan power play,” said Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, who says the bill’s backers didn’t include his office or any GOP lawmakers in drafting the legislation. “It is not a bipartisan effort to have all voices at the table.” Last November, nearly three of every four Colorado voters cast their ballots by mail.
Coloradans would vote primarily by mail, and they could register to vote on Election Day, under a bill Democrats are proposing at the state Capitol. Neighborhood polling places at schools and churches would be a thing of the past, and in-person voting would happen at a few centralized voting centers in each county, if the bill passes. Even before it has been introduced, the bill has touched off a partisan fight. But the Colorado County Clerks Association supports the bill. Many clerks, like Montezuma County’s Carol Tullis, are Republicans and still support the bill. “It sounds good on the surface,” Tullis said.
Democrats are expected to introduce a sweeping elections bill Wednesday that would allow residents to register to vote through Election Day, and send mail ballots to every voter, according to a draft of the bill obtained by The Denver Post. The measure is expected to launch another partisan battle under the gold dome, as Republican leaders, including Secretary of State Scott Gessler, say the legislation would lead to voter fraud. The bill, prompted by the state’s county clerks, will put real-time technology to work on elections, save voters time and ultimately save taxpayers money, said Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver, the House assistant majority leader. “We’re not voting the way we did in the 19th century,” he said. “We’re not still voting the way we did in much of the 20th century. It’s time to bring our elections into the 21st century.” Those who still want to vote in person will be able to go to an election service center open at least 15 days before the election, The Colorado County Clerks Association, which asked for many of the provisions in a letter to lawmakers last November, said 74 percent of the state’s residents already voted by mail.
Coloradans would vote primarily by mail, and they could register to vote on Election Day under a bill Democrats are proposing at the state Capitol. Neighborhood polling places at schools and churches would be a thing of the past, and in-person voting would happen at a few centralized voting centers in each county, if the bill passes. Even before it has been introduced, the bill has touched off a partisan fight. But La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Lee Parker, a Republican, supports the bill and says it’s not a partisan issue. “To me, this is really bipartisan. This makes sense. This is not Republican versus Democrat,” Parker said.
Colorado Democrats are planning sweeping changes to how elections are run in the state, to the dismay of Republican leaders who say they’ve been excluded from crafting a bill that that would allow same-day voter registration and require mailed ballots to every eligible voter. A bill of more than 100 pages is expected to be introduced this week, likely sparking a big partisan fight over whether the changes benefit one party over the other. Supporters of the changes, which also include eliminating the so-called “inactive voter” status, say the goal is to make voting more accessible. “I think people are like me, they just want people engaged in the Democratic process,” said Democratic Sen. Angela Giron, one of the bill sponsors. She insisted they didn’t exclude Republicans from the process. Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who oversees elections and has butted heads with Democrats on a range of issues, said the bill was “written in complete secrecy excluding anyone who may have a different point of view.”
A more than 100-page sweeping election reform bill is likely to be introduced by Democrats in the Senate next week, covering everything from moving voter registration deadlines to mailing ballots to inactive voters. Even before the bill has reached its final draft, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and fellow Republicans have pounced on the proposal, concerned that the bill would create same-day voter registration. The GOP is also critical of what they consider to be a “secretive” drafting process. Gessler said he hasn’t yet seen a draft of the bill. Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, said she would carry the late bill when it is introduced by the end of next week. Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, would be the House sponsors.