The Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Election Act (COVAME) took effect on July 1, 2013 after years of work by Colorado Common Cause and others to expand access to the ballot and make voting easier and more convenient for Coloradans. Backed by a bi-partisan coalition including the Colorado County Clerks Association, COVAME became a triumph for voter accessibility and election integrity.
- Increased registration opportunities by allowing voters to register through Election Day. It also extended the number of days voters can use the online voter registration system and increased the accuracy of the voter rolls by requiring regular updates from other statewide databases.
- Required that all eligible voters receive a mail ballot and a range of convenient and secure options to vote from home or in person. Voters can return the ballots by US Mail or drop them off at a county-designated drop off location. Mail ballots also are accepted at any Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC) in the voter's county, where voters also have an option to cast a paper ballot or vote on a machine.
- Eliminated the “Inactive – Failed to Vote” status, which means that no voter will be marked as Inactive in Colorado for missing a single general election. This practice had resulted in registered voters not receiving mail ballots in all mail ballot elections.
- Established the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Commission to evaluate the implementation of COVAME, assess the current state of voting and registration system technology and make recommendations about technology to be used in the 2014 elections.
This legislation ensures that every eligible Colorado voter has a full opportunity to participate in our democracy. By expanding opportunities to register through Election Day and ensuring that every registered voter stays registered even after moving, we can ensure that the registration process never acts as a barrier to citizens having their voices heard. States that allow voters to register through Election Day routinely have stronger turnout than states with early registration deadlines. COVAME also ensures that every eligible voter can cast a ballot that counts, even if the voter has moved within the state.
In addition, by expanding voting options, COVAME ensures that every voter has convenient and flexible choices for casting a ballot. The use of mail ballots was widespread in Colorado, even before COVAME. In 2012, more that 72% of Colorado voters voted by mail. COVAME built on this success by requiring that a ballot be delivered to every eligible voter and giving voters options on casting it.
COVAME is a common sense, solution that ensures all eligible voters – and only eligible voters – have a full opportunity to participate in our democracy.