A bill to legalize ballot selfies passed a Colorado House Committee Wednesday evening. House Bill 1014 would allow people to take selfies with their completed ballot and share it on social media, which proponents say would encourage voting and allow the exercise of First Amendment rights. “Believe it or not showing someone your completed ballot and taking a photo of it and posting it on social media is currently a crime in Colorado,” said Democratic Rep. Paul Rosenthal of Denver and Republican Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs. The crime is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail, though no one can recall anyone who has ever been charged with the offense in Colorado. “I know this made sense 100 years when corruption was rampant but it does not make sense today,” Rosenthal said.
Articles about voting issues in Colorado.
Colorado: $52 per vote? County clerks explore changing early-voting requirements | Kiowa County Press
Colorado’s county clerks want some leeway when it comes to providing early-voting locations during general elections because of costs, the turnout and the difficulty in securing locations and judges. Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane said the data suggests the first week could be eliminated – his county spent $52 per vote over those six days. But he said one option for Arapahoe might be reducing locations for that first week from 11 to just the clerk’s office and the four Motor Vehicle offices. Martha Tierney, the attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party and a commission member, opposed the reductions. “We saw two- and three-hour lines (on Election Day),” she said. “Let’s not forget that.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the 2017 Colorado State legislative session began in Denver and with it came a proposed draft bill from Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont). The bill would give jurisdictions the option to use approval voting methods in nonpartisan elections. This will be Singer’s third attempt to get such legislation passed. The concept is simple: “Vote for as many candidates as you like, the candidate with the most votes win,” Singer says. “It’s a very positive way of voting.” House Bill 17-0608 would allow voters to check as many candidates as they like in races where political affiliations aren’t on the ballot, such as city councils and school boards. But the law would not require any jurisdictions to use such methods. “I believe that the current system is not creating a system that gives people faith in our government,” Singer says, citing the frustration many voters felt during the 2016 presidential election. “Maybe if people felt like they had more choices, they’d have more faith in our electoral process.”
Colorado voters will pick their presidential nominees via primaries in 2020 after Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed two voter-passed propositions into law on Tuesday. Voters approved Proposition 107, which eliminates presidential preference caucuses, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in November. Voters passed Proposition 108, which allows all voters to participate in partisan primary elections, by a similar margin. The new rules mean all Colorado voters will be allowed to participate in any presidential primary they choose four years from now. Delegates allocated by the primaries will be bound to the winners at national party conventions, under the new state law.
Colorado: After Bernie Sanders Delegate Issue, State Creates Open Primaries For Independent Voters | IBT
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two ballot measures — Proposition 107 and Proposition 108 — into law Tuesday. The measures call for presidential primaries to be held every four years in the state and allow unaffiliated voters to cast their ballots in the primary elections. Proposition 107 was approved by 64 percent of voters during the Nov. 8 election. The measure is expected to increase spending in the secretary of state’s office by nearly $210,000 during 2018-2019 and by $2.7 million during 2019-2020, when the next presidential elections will be held at which time the presidential primaries will be conducted. Spending is expected to increase every four years. “I think that a caucus doesn’t allow all the people who want to have a voice to have one,” Jessie Koerner, spokeswoman of Let Colorado Vote, reportedly said. “Only five percent of eligible voters voted in the caucus. So that really shows you how few people are able to take part.”
A state lawmaker wants Colorado to join the movement to replace the current Electoral College System with one that awards the presidency to the winner of the national popular vote. Democratic Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, says legislation is in the works that would allow Colorado to join an interstate popular-vote compact. Kerr says he’s motivated by the recent presidential election results. Republican Donald Trump won with 304 Electoral College votes, even though his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, garnered around 3 million more votes. “My constituents have very loudly let me know that this is something they would like to have happen,” Kerr said. “Quite literally about half of the emails I’ve seen in the past month or so have been about the national popular vote.” Kerr sponsored similar legislation in 2009 when he was a member of the state House of Representatives. That bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.
A group of Colorado Democratic electors seeking to vote against Hillary Clinton in defiance of the state’s popular vote are asking the Colorado Supreme Court to set aside a Denver judge’s ruling allowing the Secretary of State to replace them. The petition, filed with the state Supreme Court on Thursday, is the latest legal maneuver to arise from the group known as the “Hamilton Electors,” a movement aimed at blocking Republican businessman Donald Trump from the presidency by forcing an Electoral College deadlock. On Tuesday, the Denver District Court dealt a blow to the movement, ruling that state law requires electors to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who received the most votes in the state. Denver District Judge Elizabeth Starrs also ruled that the Colorado Secretary of State can replace any elector that violates that law.
A federal judge has rejected a request for an immediate injunction in lawsuit by two presidential electors in Colorado filed as part of a strategy to block Donald Trump’s election. The ruling — by Bill Clinton appointee Wiley Daniel — delivers a crushing blow to the Hamilton Electors, a group of Electoral College members pursuing a strategy to convince presidential electors across the country to unite behind an alternative candidate to Trump. Daniel’s ruling rejected an effort by Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich — two Democratic electors in Colorado — to immediately prevent the enforcement of a state law that forces them to cast their electoral votes for Hillary Clinton when the Electoral College meets next week. Baca and Nemanich hoped that a favorable ruling would undermine similar statutes in 28 other states, including 14 where Trump won. The attorney for the electors, Jason Wesoky, has signaled to the court that he’ll still pursue litigation in the matter.
Colorado: State crushes national voter turnout figures, but mail ballots aren’t a huge factor | The Denver Post
Even as voter turnout declined across the U.S. for the second presidential contest in a row, Coloradans cast ballots in huge numbers, bucking the national trend and reinforcing the state’s position as a leader in voter participation. But for all the talk of a dramatic shift in Colorado’s elections under the state’s expanded mail-in balloting system, the final numbers in 2016 are going to look a lot like that of presidential elections past. More people voted by mail in Colorado than ever in 2016 — upward of 2.6 million of the 2.8 million ballots cast, according to the latest unofficial tallies from the Secretary of State’s Office. But overall turnout is expected to be slightly above that of 2012, and slightly below 2008. “I think, frankly, there’s no evidence to suggest that the change made any difference in turnout,” said Judd Choate, the state director of elections.
Colorado: Pre-election tests didn’t find limits in Pueblo County voting system | The Pueblo Chieftain
State election officials said Pueblo County would have had to test the county’s election system with 50,000-60,000 test ballots to discover the limited data base on the Dominion Express system that filled up on Election Day, causing days of delay in getting final results. Dwight Shellman, county support manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, said the limited data base was not mentioned in any of the vendor’s documentation about the Microsoft SQL Express system and that neither state or county officials were aware of it — until the computer server stopped working on Election Day. “We approved that purchase, but if we’d known its limitations, we wouldn’t have,” Shellman said Tuesday. Both Secretary of State Wayne Williams and County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz have explained how the vendor — Dominion Voting Systems — rushed a much bigger server to the county last Tuesday to remedy the logjam in counting more than 80,000 votes.