We Heart Voting: Valentine’s Day at the Capitol
Colorado Common Cause loves our state’s voters, so it makes sense that we spent most of Valentine’s Day at the Capitol working to make voting safer and standing up against bad faith voting bills! On February 14th the House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee heard six bills related to elections and voting. We were there to support one and oppose three of these bills.
This legislation will ban the open carry of firearms within 100 feet of polling places, ballot drop boxes, and vote counting centers. We strongly support this bill. Colorado Common Cause runs the state’s largest nonpartisan voter protection program and during this work we have had multiple incidents where voters have encountered someone with a firearm at the polls or near drop boxes. Because of a patchwork of open carry laws in different counties and inadequate voter intimidation laws, we realized not all voters were protected from encountering firearms while voting. We believe there is no room for ambiguity when it comes to protecting every Coloradan’s right to vote without fear, intimidation, or violence of any kind.
HB22-1086 passed out of committee on a vote of 7-4 and received supportive testimony from Colorado Common Cause, New Era Colorado, America Votes, Everytown For Gun Safety, The Brady Campaign, The Colorado Department of State, and several County Clerks. We look forward to continuing to support this critical legislation and seeing it signed into law.
This bill would have required all of Colorado’s voting equipment and systems to meet the latest standards issued by the federal Elections Assistance Commission, known as Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) 2.0. Sounds great, right? Not quite. We love standards and Colorado Common Cause applauds the work of the United States Election Assistance Commission and supports the new VVSG 2.0. That said, the EAC is itself still studying how they will operationalize the guidelines. Currently, no vendors have voting systems or equipment that meet VVSG 2.0 and there are no voting systems testing labs that are certified to test for VVSG 2.0 compliance. The bill imposed a January 1, 2023 deadline for compliance – creating an impossible timeline and an untenable transition period. For these reasons we opposed HB22-1078. We know the fundamental security premise embodied in the VVSG 2.0 has been embraced and adopted by Colorado – namely software independence – which in lay terms – means paper ballots verified by the voters. We look forward to the day that all voting systems manufacturers develop voting systems that can be certified to the VVSG 2.0. These will bring important improvements in accessibility, interoperability, usability, and security.
HB22-1078 was postponed indefinitely (killed) by a reverse roll call vote of 7-4.
This bill would have required a court administrator to provide a list of jurors who self-identified as ineligible because they are not citizens or do not live in the county to election officials. Election officials would then have to cancel their voter registrations. Implementing voter registration list maintenance policy is a delicate and complex process where you must balance list accuracy while ensuring voters’ rights are protected. Colorado Common Cause supports processes that are standardized and have minimum matching requirements and do not result in the unnecessary or wrongful cancellation of eligible voters’ registrations. HB22-1084 would have created a process that does not reach that standard and would have resulted in numerous wrongful voter registration cancellations. The bill was based on a widely debunked conspiracy that thousands of non-citizens were voting in elections across the country. As multiple career election officials testified on Monday, this is simply not true.
HB22-1084 was postponed indefinitely (killed) by a reverse roll call vote of 7-4.
Representative Ron Hanks, who was present at the January 6th insurrection, proposed the most egregious bill of the day. His bill would have imposed a ridiculous list of “fraud countermeasures” on Colorado’s ballots. As multiple career election officials testified, County Clerks have dozens of different security measures in place that prevent any kind of voter fraud. Representative Hanks repeated widely debunked conspiracy theories about voter fraud while he presented the bill.
HB22-1085 was postponed indefinitely (killed) by a reverse roll call vote of 7-4, although even one of Representative Hanks’s republican colleagues, Representative Bockenfeld, voted against the bill initially.
We heart voting and cannot think of a better way to spend our Valentine’s Day!