Colorado Common Cause Applauds Passage of Parolee Voting Bill – Urges Governor to Restore Voting Rights to Felons

DENVER – Colorado Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization, today applauded the passage of HB-1266, which re-enfranchises individuals with a felony conviction who are out on parole by allowing them to vote in elections. Colorado Common Cause testified in support of the bill earlier this session and urges the governor to sign the bill into law.  

Statement from Amanda Gonzalez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause: 

“In this country, voting is a symbol of political equality and full citizenship. When a citizen is denied this right and responsibility, her standing as a full and equal member of our society is called into question. The responsibilities of citizenship—working, paying taxes and contributing to one’s community—are duties conferred upon those reentering society. To further punish individuals who are back in the community by denying them a right of citizenship undercuts the expectation that citizens have rehabilitated themselves after a conviction and hinders their ability to become invested in our community. 

“Today, roughly 10,000 Coloradans are denied the right to vote because they are serving parole. Despite being active members of their community, these citizens are unable to cast a ballot. This disenfranchisement stems from outdated, racist laws and continues to have a disproportionate effect on Latinos and African Americans. Despite being only 4 percent of adult Coloradans, African Americans are 15 percent of adult parolees. Similarly, adult Latinos are 20 percent of adult Coloradans but 29 percent of adult parolees. 

“It is time to end the systemic racism of voter disenfranchisement. Someone who has been granted parole has completed their sentence. Their rights should be restored so that they have a meaningful stake in our society.”