It hasn’t gotten the national attention it deserves, but a sweeping measure to overhaul elections in Colorado is swiftly moving towards passage — one that could function as a model for other voting reformers in other states, and perhaps even nationally. The Colorado measure will represent a big step forward, because it sticks to the most fundamental principle that most reformers think should guide our efforts to fix voting: That voting should be made easier for as many people as possible. This, at a time when conservative groups are working to restrict voting in the name of “voter fraud.” As Reid Wilson recently put it, the Colorado measure is “the Democratic comeback to voter ID.”
Reform advocates who have been briefed on Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s plans tell me they expect him to sign the legislation tomorrow. The measure, which has cleared both houses in Colorado, contains a number of key provisions. It requires a ballot to be mailed to every registered voter; voters choose how to vote, whether by mail or dropping off the ballot, or even in person, early or on election day. It lengthens the early voting period and shortens the time required for state residency in order to qualify to vote. It expands voter registration through Election Day. And it allows people to vote at any precinct within their county.
“The biggest problem is people showing up at the wrong precinct,” Ellen Dumm, spokesperson for Coloradans for Voter Access and Modernized Elections, tells me. “This is unique in that expands all options. It really does expand access to voting at a time when we’ve seen a lot of restriction of voting. This makes voting a lot easier.”
Republicans in Colorado strongly opposed the measure, arguing that it could facilitate vote fraud, and it comes after a number contentious legislative battles. But to reformers, what’s notable about this campaign is that even some Republicans — those who bureaucratically grapple with voting problems, that is — could support it. “We never would have gotten this passed without county clerks and county commissioners who are Republican,” Dumm says.
Full Article: Colorado strikes a blow for voting reform.