Senate Democrats moved to take down what they say is a roadblock that makes it more difficult for more than 100,000 voters to participate in the November elections, resurrecting a proposal Monday that House Republicans previously rejected. The legislative action would send mail-in ballots to so-called inactive voters who otherwise would have to cast ballots in person. And the implications are huge. About 37 percent of the affected voters are Democrats. Around 23 percent are Republicans. The remaining 40 percent are unaffiliated — a bloc both parties think they can use to pick up support. Democrats say they are pressing the issue to make voting easier, adding that the issue is more urgent with important state issues and the White House on the line. “I would think that we would want every possible soul who’s eligible to vote, to be able to vote in that election,” said Sen. Rollie Heath, the chair of the committee that brought back the plan.
Republicans say the process is already simple for interested Colorado voters and GOP Sen. Kevin Grantham says that Democrats are going too far, trying to “somehow magically give them the right to vote.” A Democratic-led Senate committee used a legislative loophole to bring back the plan, adding the proposal to a once-defunct Republican bill. House Republicans previously rejected another bill with those provisions and can turn back this proposal as well.
People who did not vote in the 2010 general election and failed to respond to requests to activate their registrations are considered inactive but are still eligible to vote. Democrats moved to eliminate the term “inactive voter” and direct the secretary of state and county clerks to make sure that ballots are sent to everyone registered to be permanent mail-in voters. “When they said permanent, they meant permanent,” said Democratic Sen. Michael Johnston, who sponsored Senate Bill 109, which passed the Senate last month with bipartisan support but was killed in committee by House Republicans.