A politically polarizing new election law will get its first test run during the Sept. 10 recall elections in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Same-day voter registration became mandatory with an elections overhaul bill that was signed into law in May. Democrats say allowing voters to register on election day provides greater access to the polls; Republicans say it will lead to rampant election fraud. It’s a debate being played out across the nation this year as states weigh the issue. The new law – HB1303 – will get its first test run during elections that are historic for being the first recall elections of state-level officials in Colorado. Voters will decide in two weeks whether to keep Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, in office.
Residents upset over gun laws passed into law during the 2013 session signed petitions over the summer to force the recall elections of the two lawmakers who supported the measures. The elections will be relatively small – only those living within each senator’s district will be able to vote – but made complicated by legal challenges and new laws.
“Because there’s no opportunity to review registrations and to catch potential fraudulent submissions ahead of time, there is a very real risk under same-day registration that individuals will be able to commit voter fraud,” said Wayne Williams, the Republican clerk and recorder for El Paso County.
In Pueblo County, the Democratic clerk and recorder has a different view. “I think that it’s going to work,” Gilbert Ortiz said. “It gives voters more access to voting . with technology the way that we have it now, with the statewide voter registration system, I believe that we were capable of making access better of our voters.”