Defending the Right to Vote

Posted on June 1, 2016

Thumbnail for the Voting and Elections issue bucket

It’s as predictable as I-70 traffic on a Sunday afternoon. Each year, the same voting ID bills are introduced into the Colorado legislature. If passed, they would require Coloradans to present photo identification when registering to vote or casting a ballot.

You may be asking yourself why this is a problem. Many of us use photo ID for everyday activities, such as buying a beer or boarding a flight. Doesn’t everyone have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card?

False. According to a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice, approximately 10 percent of voting-age citizens lack a valid government-issued ID. This rate is even higher for some groups: nearly one in four African Americans and one in five senior citizens who are eligible to vote lack this identification.

So, why don’t these folks just get an ID? This seemingly easy solution poses several potential problems. Those without a car may have problems accessing far-away identification offices. Agencies that issue IDs are typically only open during hours when many of us are at work. And gaining identification is almost impossible for those who lack the backup documentation needed to acquire an ID—such as a US Passport. 

Colorado Common Cause works to ensure that every eligible Coloradan can vote—including those who do not have photo ID. We worked to defeat two photo ID bills this legislative session, but we expect this issue to come up again in future years.

Office: Colorado Common Cause

Issues: Voting and Elections

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