DENVER – A bill introduced this week in the Colorado General Assembly seeks broader voter participation by creating a process to collect as many voter registrations as possible.
SB19-235 calls for Automatic Voter Registration across Colorado for eligible voters who affirm they are a citizen of the United States, have lived in Colorado for at least 22 days before an election, and are at least 16-years-old while acknowledging they must be 18-years-old to vote.
As written, the Colorado Department of Revenue would transfer information on eligible electors who apply for, renew, or correct their Colorado driver’s license or identification card. This all hinges upon the actions of agencies required under the proposal to submit information to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing would also be required to submit information on people who apply for Medicaid and are eligible voters.
Then there are other agencies designated for voter registration as defined by Colorado election law (Section 1-2-504) , they too will be required to provide information:
- All offices that provide public assistance;
- All offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities;
- All recruitment offices of the armed forces of the United States; and
- Any other federal, state, local government, or nongovernment office that chooses to provide voter registration service or applications.
Additionally, the Office of Information Technology will be tasked with identifying other voter registration agencies who “collect sufficient information for voter registration purposes” in order to determine if they should also be required transfer electronic records.
County Clerk & Recorder offices would be responsible for reviewing the information for truth and accuracy before notifying the eligible voter by mail that they are registered, pre-registered, or ineligible to register to vote based on the information provided. Notices will be sent out in both English and Spanish.
There’s a 20-day period in which the eligible voter can reply to decline registration or declare a party affiliation. If there is no response, the voter registration will be complete. If the notice comes back as undeliverable by US mail then the registration would be incomplete.
Anyone who is initially deemed as ineligible for registration and asked to provide more information has 24 months to do so before their registration will be labeled as inactive.
If a form for someone deemed to be eligible to vote is returned via mail with no markings to indicate declining registration or choosing a party affiliation, then the registration will be approved and the person marked as being unaffiliated with a party.
Further provisions in the bill reaffirm the Secretary of State’s responsibility to “establish adequate and reasonable technological security requirements for the exchange or transfer of data related to voter registration…”
The information passed along to the Secretary of State includes:
- full name
- date of birth
- residence address,
- deliverable mailing address if different from the residence address
- county of residence
- citizenship information
- an electronic copy of the signature of each unregistered elector
- an electronic copy of the signature of each person eligible to preregister to vote
An amendment added to the bill by the Senate committee for State, Veterans & Military Affairs includes a provision for voters to pursue a referendum election to challenge the proposed law. An amendment is not permanent unless approved by both the House and Senate, as is the case with the entire bill.
News5 is taking a closer look at this bill for any potential issues that could be addressed by Republican lawmakers, of which none are co-sponsors of this bill.
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