A Democratic-sponsored bill that would put in place sweeping changes to how Colorado elections are conducted passed a state legislative committee on April 15, following a lengthy and heavily debated hearing that went deep into the night. House Bill 1303 would change the state’s election code to allow for same-day voter registration and would put ballots in the mailboxes of every registered voter. The bill also would do away with a system where “inactive” voters — those who did not vote in the previous election — do not continue to receive mail-in ballots. Democrats say the changes would encourage more involvement in the voting process, and would save taxpayer dollars on things like voting equipment, because fewer people would need to vote in person.
The bill’s sponsors argue that Colorado voters want greater voting access and that legislators should respond to their desires. “People have demanded that we reform our elections system, and it is time for us to design an election system around our voters,” House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Gunbarrel, a bill sponsor, told members of the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
But Republicans argue that the changes could lead to greater voting fraud and that the Democrats’ efforts on the bill are self-serving attempts to boost their own party’s voter rolls.
Applause erupted from the audience when Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, questioned the sponsors’ motives, telling committee members, “I don’t hear the outcry from voters.” “I’m trying to get my arms around why we’re doing this,” he said.
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