Colorado lawmakers send automatic voter registration bill to governor's desk

Colorado lawmakers send automatic voter registration bill to governor's desk
© Greg Nash

Lawmakers in Colorado passed legislation expanding automatic voter registration in the state, sending the bill to Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisProtesters surround Aurora Police precinct after photos emerge of officers mocking Elijah McClain's death Officer involved in taking pictures mocking Elijah McClain resigns Colorado governor closes bars amid rise in virus cases MORE's (D) desk.

The bill would expand ways to automatically register Colorado residents to vote, and would implement an opt-out process for those who don't wish to be included.

It passed the state House on Thursday by a vote of 40-23, according to a local ABC affiliate, after previously passing the state Senate in a 20-15 vote last week.


“Colorado already has a leading elections system in the country, however, there are ways we can improve it even more. This bill ensures our voter roles are secure, accurate, up to date and that everyone who is eligible to vote can not only receive their ballot but send and access their ballot,” state Rep. Daneya Esgar (D), one of the bill's sponsors, told ABC.

“We need to make sure that anyone who is eligible to vote has no barriers to access the ballot and this bill ensures an accurate and secure way to accomplish this. Democracy works when we all get to participate and that’s what this bill does," she added.

Colorado's secretary of state, Jena Griswold, indicated that the bill was destined for a signature following its passage Thursday.

“Expanding automatic voter registration will increase access to voter registration for eligible Coloradans and help us make our voter rolls more accurate. This is a major step forward in Colorado becoming a national leader on democracy,” she said.

Automatic voter registration efforts have been catching on in a number of states ahead of the 2020 election cycle. Colorado's proposal would automatically register anyone who applies for a driver's license, state ID card or Medicaid, giving them a choice to opt-out later on.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said recently that a similar effort in the state has been successful, and led to a more diverse electorate.

"Voting is a fundamental right of being a citizen, and people across the country should have the ability to access this fundamental right without barriers like registration,” she said. 

--Updated 8:35 p.m.