Colorado would become the nation’s third all-mail ballot state in the country — after Oregon and Washington — under a bill sent by the Legislature to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday. The measure has raised a partisan ruckus in Colorado — not so much for the mail voting as for another provision in the bill that would allow prospective voters to register as late as election day. The bill passed on party-line votes in both houses, with the Republicans furiously claiming that election-day registration opened the state to widespread voter fraud. (Colorado currently cuts off registration 29 days before the election, compared to 20 days in Oregon).
Hickenlooper hasn’t said yet whether he will sign the bill but given the support from his fellow Democrats on the issue it’s a pretty good bet that he will. He’s already taken advantage of the new Democratic legislative majority to sign bills dealing with gun control, immigration and civil unions.
All-mail elections aren’t that much of a stretch for Coloradans. The state already allows voters to become permanent absentee voters, and 74 percent of the electorate received a mail ballot in the last election.
The Colorado County Clerks Association championed all-mail balloting, saying it would cut costs and reduce voter confusion. Election-day registration came from legislative Democrats who said they wanted to remove artificial barriers to participation the election.