The Colorado Voting Experience: A Model That Encourages Full Participation

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

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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.