Colorado’s elec­tion sys­tem is a suc­cess­ful model for the rest of the na­tion. So, don’t change it.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Elena Nunez My Turn Elena Nunez is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Colorado Com­mon Cause.

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.

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