Colorado’s election system is a successful model for the rest of the nation. So, don’t change it.
Re: “Counties need flex to reduce election wait times,” March 21 guest commentary.
Colorado’s election system is a national model for secure, accessible voting. We rank in the top five for turnout, and have the highest percentage of eligible voters registered.
Let’s not take it backward by drastically cutting back on early voting. In Colorado, voters get a ballot in the mail and they can mail it back, drop it off or vote in person. In-person early voting happens for two weeks before Election Day.
Moving to this more modern system in 2013 has meant a 40 percent decrease in election costs, according to a 2016 Pew study.
A proposal to drastically cut early voting locations and hours in the largest counties is now at the legislature (Senate Bill 71). If passed, the state’s largest counties would reduce voting hours by 28 percent and cut locations by about a quarter. That’s just too much.
People go to vote centers for a variety of reasons: to replace ballots, to register to vote, to change their address, to get questions answered and to vote. And those voters are disproportionately young, minority or disabled.
The real problem in the last election was long lines on the last day — 26 counties still had voters in line after the polls closed at 7 p.m. And Denver, El Paso and Pueblo counties were still processing voters after 10 p.m. This bill does nothing to ensure that resources are shifted to begin to deal with that issue.
Colorado has a cost-efficient elections system and we should always look for improvement. But the bottom line shouldn’t be the only factor when it comes to voting rights.