Who knew this was a law already? Coloradans are guaranteed by law two hours on Election Day to vote, almost enough time for a round of golf if you don’t have any friends.
But that doesn’t really make sense anymore, since the legislature switched Colorado to mail-ballot elections in 2013; you stand in line only if you want to go vote in person.
Seeing that, Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, and Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, are trying to make the same amount of time make sense to use the allocation available whenever polling centers are open in the 8 to 15 days before the election. The idea is to give people time to register, vote, get a replacement ballot, enjoy a hot dog … whatever they need to do to participate in democracy.
Friday House Bill 1033 passed the lower chamber on a voice vote, as Democrat-sponsored bills tend to do with a Democratic majority. But Listen for yourself at the 44:03 mark by clicking here. (Does Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, have partisan ears?) The bill still must pass a recorded vote in the House, scheduled for Monday, to make it to the Republican-led Senate.
“The intent here is to make it easier for voters, election administrators and the business community,” Weissman told the chamber before the voice vote.
The two-hour window allows enough time to register
He noted he had support from the Denver and Aurora chambers and no one spoke against the bill in committee (where it passed 5-4, with all the Republicans in opposition, joined by Democrat Adrienne Benavidez of Commerce City).
Republican Reps. Tim Leonard of Evergreen, Stephen Humphrey of Severance and Dave Williams of Colorado Springs said Friday that the bill is an unnecessary mandate on businesses and would have little impact on voter participation.
“The impact of this bill on voting would be extremely negligible, but the impact of another mandate on employers to be able to accommodate this quest for more voting turnout is significant,” Leonard said.
Added Humphrey: “This is not necessary and most employers are going ahead and doing this anyway.”