Colorado State Summary

October 23, 2014

Colorado is improving accessibility at polling places and the training of poll workers, but it should also implement election materials testing and more comprehensive post-election audits.


States should adopt online voter registration (“OLVR”).

Online voter registration adopted.


Interstate exchanges of voter information should be expanded.

Colorado is a member of both the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (IVRC) and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).


States should seamlessly integrate voter data acquired through DMVs with their statewide voter registration lists.

Transmission of data between DMVs and election administrators is almost entirely paperless, but still requires a “wet ink” signature on paper for new voter registrants.


Schools should be used as polling places; to address any related security concerns, Election Day should be an in-service day.

Colorado uses an almost all-mail ballot election system, but provides for in-person voting and drop-off at a number of locations for at least 15 days before a general election; it does not use schools for drop-off due to security reasons and extended period for drop-off.


States should consider establishing vote centers to achieve economies of scale in polling place management while also facilitating voting at convenient locations.

Colorado, leading the charge, passed legislation establishing vote centers a decade ago.


Jurisdictions should develop models and tools to assist them in effectively allocating resources across polling places.

No statewide rule in place. However, we encourage jurisdictions to utilize the tools made available by the Commission. In 2012, voters waited an average of 6.3 minutes in line.


Jurisdictions should transition to electronic pollbooks.

All jurisdictions in Colorado use electronic pollbooks.


Jurisdictions should recruit public and private sector employees, as well as high school and college students, to become poll workers.

In Colorado, students 16 years old and older may serve as “student election judges” and participate as poll workers. One exemplary provision of Colorado law allows state public employees the opportunity to take administrative leave, with pay, on Election Day. We encourage election officials to establish other robust programs to recruit public and private sector employees as well.


States should institute poll worker training standards.

Colorado has statutory language prescribing training for some poll workers, but its Secretary of State’s website does not provide any manuals or videos regarding the training.


Election authorities should establish advisory groups for voters with disabilities and for those with limited English proficiency.

No statewide statutory policy in place. However, Colorado has some of the best examples demonstrating how advisory groups can work closely with elected officials. For example, the Secretary of State’s office administers a Voter Accessibility, Independence and Privacy Task Force in partnership with disability advocates to improve the voting experience for members of the disability community. Denver also established a Spanish Language Voting Advisory Committee (ACCESO) by city ordinance to provide advice and guidance to the Elections Division on communicating to the Spanish language community.


States and localities must adopt comprehensive management practices to assure accessible polling places.

Colorado uses a DOJ-issued accessibility checklist and has produced an in-depth video exclusively on creating accessible polling places.


States should survey and audit polling places to determine their accessibility.

Colorado requires an accessibility checklist to be completed for each polling location prior to an election.


Jurisdictions should provide bilingual poll workers to any polling place with a significant number of voters who do not speak English.

Colorado’s robust statutory language, partially covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, calls for recruitment of full- or part-time bilingual workers for precincts with three percent or more of non-English-speaking electors.


Jurisdictions should test all election materials for plain language and usability.

No statewide statutory policy in place to test for plain language and usability.


States should expand opportunities to vote before Election Day.

Beginning 15 days before each general election, Colorado allows voters to vote in-person or return completed ballots at secure drop boxes or by mail.


States should provide ballots and registration materials to military and overseas voters via their websites.

Colorado has a strong military and overseas voters’ information section on its website. A link to the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) is provided directly on Colorado’s website, as is a link to the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB).


The standard-setting and certification process for voting machines must be reformed.

N/A; a federal matter.


Audits of voting equipment must be conducted after each election as part of a comprehensive audit program, and data concerning machine performance must be publicly disclosed in a common data format.

Colorado is moving toward the implementation of risk-limiting audits statewide, and has a law that requires their use in 2017. Colorado currently requires post-election audits of voting machine equipment and mandates significant public disclosure of the audit results. Still, Colorado allows military and overseas voters to electronically transmit their ballots over the Internet, so its elections are not fully auditable.


Local jurisdictions should gather and report voting-related transaction data for the purpose of improving the voter experience.

Colorado collects detailed data on voter registrations, and breaks it down in a number of sub-categories. Because it uses a mail system, keeping data on wait times, frequent polling places problems, etc., may not make sense for the state.

READ: Did We Fix That? 2014 Colorado State Summary

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