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Voting bill to be introduced in Colorado legislature

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April 11, 2013

Colorado

By Alex Murray

DENVER, Colorado: Colorado Democrats are looking to change how the state's residents vote, and a partisan quarrel is shaping up even before legislation is formally introduced.

A bill soon to be introduced in the Colorado General Assembly by Sen. Angela Giron (D) and Rep. Dan Pabon (D) will call for the mailing of ballots to all voters, as well as in-person registration through election day. Online registration would end eight days before an election, and early voting would be allowed for at least 15 days prior to an election. The current deadline for voter registration is 29 days before a statewide election.[1]

Currently, voters may vote either in-person or by mail, but must ask to be sent ballots permanently. 74 percent of Coloradans voted by mail in the 2012 election, according to the Colorado County Clerks Association, which supports the changes expected in the legislation. Voters would be able to return their ballot through the mail, in drop-off containers, or at a vote center. Voters who skip an election are currently placed on an 'inactive voters' list; the bill would eliminate active and inactive classifications.[2][3]

Republicans including House Minority Leader Mark Waller and state committee chairman Ryan Call have cried foul, characterizing the impending legislation as a power move following the 2012 election in which Democrats ended split rule of the Colorado General Assembly. On the executive side, Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) is also vocal in opposition, saying that the bill was drafted in a clandestine fashion and that inefficiency and voter fraud would result. Giron countered that she did not see the issue as being partisan, and that voter fraud would be reduced through the use of a statewide database.[1][2][3]

The other states that mail ballots to all voters are Oregon and Washington; both exclusively use a vote-by-mail system.

Colorado is one of 12 Democratic state government trifectas.

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