The Colorado Voting Experience: A Model That Encourages Full Participation

How other states can improve access and election administration...

Imagine the perfect voting experience. You drop by the polling place on the way to work or school; the line’s moving quickly, so it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to get to the check-in desk. Once there, your registration is rapidly verified and you’re handed a ballot by a friendly face. No one hassles you, no one unfairly questions your eligibility. You step aside to a private booth, fill out the form and have it easily scanned. You get a receipt – and the cherished “I voted” sticker. The whole thing takes about five or 10 minutes. Upon leaving the site, you not only experience that frisson that reminds you that you’re a part of something bigger – civic pride! – but also get out of there in time to drop off the kids at school and make it to work on time. In many ways, it’s a day like any other: you go carry on with your duties as you otherwise would. In another, though, it’s a special and unique experience; you participated in an act that for many were hard-fought and hard-won, that is a guaranteed right to you as a citizen, and that helps direct the course of the nation. You voted. And, because of that, you got to be one of the country’s critical decision-makers.

It may not yet be the norm, but in Colorado, and in states with more in-person and at-home voting options, such elections model ensures an experience that benefits both voter and administrator alike. And boosts turnout.