Colorado Republicans want to change automatic mail voting and other election laws. Democrats say it’s just to appeal to the GOP base

Rusty Simmons, left, and Rosalinda Calamari ...

By all official accounts, Colorado’s 2020 elections went smoothly, were secure and saw a record number of votes cast, but the lingering national conversations around voting security and access are still playing out in statehouses across the U.S. — Colorado included.

Republican lawmakers in Colorado are still not convinced that the elections are secure enough, and have introduced five election-related bills so far this session. Democrats call the proposals little more than voter suppression tactics or an appeal to the Republican base, and are offering up their own proposals to expand voting access and implement ranked-choice voting.

With Democrats in control of both chambers in Colorado, the GOP bills face an uphill battle. And county clerks, who by and large are in charge of running elections, say discussion on the process is healthy, but potential changes should be spurred by need, not politics.

“My perspective is you can’t drive your car looking in the rearview mirror,” said Republican Sen. Paul Lundeen of Monument. “Colorado has a good election law. We need to make it a great election law.”

In the wake of former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, more than 165 bills to add voting restrictions have been introduced in statehouses across the country as of early February — four times the number introduced at the same time last year. And Democrats have introduced more than 406 bills in 35 states to expand voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Republicans’ bills

One of the main Republican bills in Colorado would require voters to show proof of citizenship to cast a ballot — a proposal somewhat similar to one Kansas passed and was later deemed unconstitutional by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, though Kansas required documentation when registering.

Newly elected GOP Rep. Stephanie Luck of Penrose is sponsoring this bill, which would mandate that voters provide their county clerks with citizenship documentation before they can vote by mail. Those who don’t provide documentation ahead of time would have to get provisional ballots and have to show IDs to their county clerk and recorder’s office before they can cast their ballots.

Luck dismisses arguments that it’s a voter suppression tactic, saying the bill complies with Amendment 76, passed by voters in November, which reiterates only citizens can vote — which is already the law — and restricts local governments from allowing noncitizens to vote.

“Those questions are all related to should this exist, and the people have already spoken,” Luck said.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Politics


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