Another Busy Week at the Capitol
Your Colorado Common Cause Team has been busy at the Capitol this week protecting Colorado voters and working to secure our state’s elections. Read below for an update on our work this week.
House Bill 1204: Elections Systems – Oppose
This bill would have decimated our gold-standard election system. Among other things, HB 1204 would have eliminated our vastly popular and convenient universal vote-by-mail system. It also would have limited voting to in-person, on Election Day and required all votes to be counted by hand within 24 hours of the election – an impossible task. Our election laws give Colorado voters robust, convenient options for casting their ballots. This is critical to ensuring there is equitable ballot access in our state. This bill would have decimated the progress we have made toward equity and erected voting barriers for historically disenfranchised groups.
We testified against this ridiculous legislation on Monday in the House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. It failed on a bipartisan vote of 9-2. We are happy to see that lawmakers in both parties want to protect Colorado’s gold standard election system.
The Vote Without Fear Act will ban the open carry of firearms within 100 feet of polling places, drop boxes, and vote count facilities. We have supported this bill since it was introduced. It was amended on the floor of the House to ensure that vetted, professional security guards employed by the counties can continue to be armed while on duty at polling places during elections. It was also amended to create a first offense penalty of up to 120 days in jail and/or up to a $250 fine. Any offenses after the first are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. We supported both of these amendments.
On Tuesday, we testified in support of HB 1086 in the Senate Civic, State, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill was passed on a vote of 3-2. It will be debated on the floor of the Senate as early as today.
Public confidence in elections is critical to a healthy, functional democracy. If the public cannot trust the process, our institutions lose their legitimacy. Unfortunately, over the past several years a significant faction of extremists have used mis and disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies to sow doubt about our elections across the country and here in Colorado. Last year, these lies infiltrated the heart of our local elections and we saw unprecedented breaches of trust by officials entrusted with the sacred duty of overseeing the election. The Colorado Election Security Act is vital legislation that will enact important new security measures to protect our election systems from emerging threats, including internal ones. The bill will require more training for election administrators and officials, new security measures, and increased accountability for designated and coordinated election officials.
We testified in support of SB 153 in the Senate State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The bill passed on a vote of 3-2. We will continue to advocate for this passage of this important legislation.