Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Friday that changes some election dates in Colorado so the state complies with a federal law aimed at giving military and others living overseas enough time to vote.
The bill Hickenlooper signed into law makes Colorado’s primary elections and precinct caucuses happen earlier on even-numbered years and requires that mail-in ballots be delivered or mailed to military personnel serving overseas 45 days before an election so they have enough time to vote and have their ballots counted. It’s part of a provision of the Military and Overseas Voter Act that Congress passed in 2009.
Before the new law, Colorado mailed out ballots to military and other voters overseas 30 days before elections.
Colorado’s primary elections will now happen the last Tuesday in June, as opposed to the second Tuesday in August. Precinct caucuses will happen the first Tuesday in March, instead of the third Tuesday in March.
Rep. Carole Murray, a Republican from Castle Rock who sponsored the legislation, said it’s needed to give county clerks enough time to create complete ballots to send overseas. Murray said that during presidential elections, overseas voters sometimes get ballots with only the presidential candidates and none of the local races.
Murray, a former clerk in Douglas County, said she rarely heard complaints about overseas voters in the military, but she feels strongly about the legislation.